YOU are a dog owner whose beloved pooch has stopped moving around.
It must be a tick, right? But you can’t find one anywhere on him.
Has he just got really lazy? No, there is another explanation - one that is poorly understood but has affected dogs in the Eurobodalla, much to the confusion of their owners.
It’s an immune disease called idiopathic polyradiculomyopathy and, while it’s not as common or deadly as tick paralysis, it can kill.
“Early on, the symptoms mimic tick paralysis,” Casey Beach Veterinary Clinic veterinarian Beth Miller said.
“The dog appears normal, in that he can eat and drink and wag its tail and is not in pain, but it just can’t move. It causes profound weakness and paralysis.
“It is poorly understood and a lot more research needs to be done.”
The disease doesn’t cause the usual respiratory problems associated with tick paralysis but does affect the neuromuscular junction, stopping the dog from moving around.
Dogs have died from it, but none reported to the Caseys Beach clinic as yet.
The Caseys Beach clinic has had numerous cases of the disease over the past year.
“We just recently had a golden retriever in the clinic with it,” Ms Miller said.
“It hasn’t become more numerous in recent times but it is being recognised and diagnosed more. Dogs have been known to be paralysed for up to three months.”
Ms Miller said that dogs are only suspected of having the disease if other causes, such as tick paralysis and disc disease, have been ruled out.
The disease is believed to be an immune response to a virus, toxin or bacteria, and there is a possible cause.
Ms Miller said that 95 per cent of dogs brought into the clinic suffering from the disorder had eaten chicken necks, a favourite food of dogs.
“This link is pure speculation at the moment, and there is no solid proof, but the chicken neck is near the gut, so this could be a cause,” she said.
Most dogs survive idiopathic polyradiculomyopathy, and there is little owners can do other than take their dog to the vet if they are suffering from it.
“The dog needs lots of nursing, physiotherapy if possible, and you need to make sure they are passing urine,” Ms Miller said.