Tick Season Lameness: BooBoo’s Story—What Would You Do if It Was Your Dog?

When you’re trying to figure out what’s wrong with your dog, sometimes the obvious is the answer. Sometimes, though, your veterinarian might be missing a part of the picture.

Tick Season Lameness: BooBoo's Story—What Would You Do if It Was Your Dog?

BooBoo’s story

BooBoo is a rescue who loves hiking in the woods with her family. Her mom is sharing her story to help save lives. That spring, the whole family went for a lovely hike and they often did. It was one of the first nice days and they took full advantage of it.

As always, a thorough check for ticks followed the outing. None of the dogs seemed to have picked-up any.

First symptoms

The next day, when BooBoo was running after a squirrel, she slipped and fell. Being clumsy wasn’t like her, though. BooBoo continued chasing the squirrel nonetheless.

It wasn’t until later that day when BooBoo started limping and wouldn’t put any weight on her hind right leg. Could she have damaged her cruciate ligament? A knee injury was the first thing BooBoo’s mom was concerned about.

She talked to their veterinarian and then gave BooBoo a pain medication she had in case BooBoo’s hips were bothering her.

Over the next five days, BooBoo got better and then regressed.

At the veterinarian

BooBoo’s mom brought her to a veterinarian to see whether it was indeed a CCL injury. The veterinarian also suggested running a Lyme test even though they did one recently and BooBoo was on tick preventive.

BooBoo’s parents were convinced that the slip was behind her lameness though, and passed on the blood test.

BooBoo gets worse

The next weekend, BooBoo was curled up on a couch and whimpered as she tried to change position. The pain medication clearly was not helping. And BooBoo’s mom became concerned that there might be something else going on than a simple injury.

The made an appointment for early morning Monday but it was not soon enough.

On Sunday morning they found BooBoo on the floor, lethargic and reluctant to move. She wouldn’t eat anything and was running a high fever. Her parents rushed her to an emergency clinic.

At the emergency

The first thing BooBoo needed was bringing her temperature down. In the meantime, her mom explained the events of the past week and the attending veterinarian too recommended a Lyme test. But the in-house snap test came back negative.

Because of BooBoo’s symptoms, though, the veterinarian felt she does have a tick-borne disease and decided to run a full tick panel. Because it was going to take a few days to get the results, they started BooBoo on antibiotics right away.

With treatment, BooBoo’s fever broke and she was able to come back home with oral medications.

BooBoo gets worse again

A couple of days later, however, in spite of the treatment, BooBoo’s temperature spiked again and she ended up back at the veterinary ER.

What could be wrong with BooBoo? They discussed all the things that could cause these symptoms which would not respond to antibiotics, starting with autoimmune disease and ending with cancer. A battery of further tests ruled all that out.

At this time, BooBoo’s care team consisted of five veterinarians all of which were bamboozled by what was making BooBoo so sick.

What do you figure was wrong with BooBoo? Do you think it was a tick-borne disease after all? What would you do if it was your dog?

Read Booboo’s story here.

Related articles:
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Fever (Pyrexia)

Further reading:
Fever in Dogs

Categories: Dog health advocacy

Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

  1. Ticks are a nightmare here. I keep my adventure cats on preventatives but I’m always scared of one of them picking up a tick. Doing tick checks on a black Persian and a longhaired tabby cat isn’t easy.

  2. I am glad the vets were able to help. (I had to read her story to find out what happened.) We have a lot of deer ticks here, I can’t even step in the backyard for more than 5 minutes without finding one. I’ve become obsessed with checking myself and the dogs for ticks.

  3. How frustrating that our pups can’t tell us what is wrong. I can certainly see why they think it is a tick borne disease. I hope you will keep us updated on BooBoo’s prognosis.

  4. Wow, that’s scary. I read your other post to find out it was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever which can get transmitted in 5 hours after getting attached. Ticks are really scary. I thought at first BooBoo might have had coon hound paralysis, which my springer came down with, but she became completely paralyzed, so the symptoms were different. We have no idea what caused her illness, but it cost me a good fortune!

  5. Marjorie Dawson

    I would have the faintest idea what to do. If a team of vets could not find the cause I would worry because it takes a lifetime of experience to maybe guess and get it right. We put a lot of faith in vets when we are stressed – do we put too much on them?

  6. Aww poor BooBoo but am happy they found the cause of her sickness and she is healthy again. I am always scared of medications because of side affects.

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