Puppy with 700 ticks needs blood transfusion after being rescued near Regina

12-week-old Tic Tac, as she was named by her rescuers, was found near a reserve outside of Regina on Friday evening.

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Rescuers and vet staff spent four hours picking ticks off Tic Tac on Friday night in Lumsden, Sask. (CC RezQs Regina)

One puppy found near Regina is lucky to be alive after being found in the wild covered in about 700 ticks.

Tic Tac, as she was named by her rescuers, was found near a reserve outside of Regina on Friday evening.

CC RezQs Regina's co-founder and director Caillin Rodonets received a frantic text from a volunteer about the puppy, which was covered in ticks, lethargic and unable to stand.

Rodonets said their immediate goal was to get the dog to a clinic.

"If we can at least get it to the vet, it increases its chances of survival by 10-fold," Rodonets said.

Volunteers transported the dog from the reserve to Regina, and from Regina to the TM'z Vet Clinic in Lumsden, Sask.

The puppy was found to have more than 300 large, fully engorged, ticks, and about 400 small ticks. It was also covered in fecal matter from the bugs.

Tic Tac required an immediate blood transfusion and antibiotics. (CC RezQs Regina)

According to Rodonets, this has been a pattern with rescue dogs recently.

"Last year we had many dogs with over 600-800 ticks on them. This year alone, we've had so many dogs that are just covered in ticks," she said. "We brought four dogs in with over 1,000 ticks.

"We're quite prepared that when the weather warms up we're going to spend hours and hours of our days picking ticks off of dogs."

Friday night was no exception. Rather than heading home to their families, veterinary staff and animal rescuers spent four hours pulling ticks off of Tic Tac and shaving the puppy's coat.

A small, weak body was revealed and the puppy was found to weigh less than four kilograms.

Road to recovery

Dr. Tanya Marshall from TM'z Vet Clinic ran some blood work and found Tic Tac's red blood cell count was extremely low, requiring an urgent blood transfusion.

According to Marshall, the 12-week-old puppy would have died of blood loss if it wasn't found. 

Caillin Rodonets said Tic Tac is not alone. So far this year they've found four dogs with about 1,000 ticks each. (CC RezQs Regina)

"This by far one of the worst cases we've ever had," said Rodonets. "It's the first case we've ever done a blood transfusion on a dog in a rescue."

Marshall's dog Kelso was the donor and laid still for 20 minutes as a transfusion bag was filled for Tic Tac.

Within an hour, Tic Tac's grey gums developed a bit of colour and she began to want food and water. By the next morning she was standing, wagging her tail and jumping on her new friends.

"She, being nearly lifeless when she came in, was a completely different dog," said Rodonets.

"She's adorable and she's doing very, very well," said Marshall.

Along with treatment for anemia, Tic Tac also required antibiotics for an infection the bites had caused.

Protecting pets from ticks

To keep family pets safe from ticks, Marshall said she recommends both a topical and oral product.

Both available from the vet, the cream repels up to 98 per cent of ticks, while the pill kills the bugs shortly after contact with the animal.

If your pets, including cats, spend time at a acreage, farm or woods, Marshall said the two medicines should be combined.

When you return from a walk outdoors, Marshall said you should check your pets for ticks around their face, armpits, groin and toes.

If you find one, remove it right away.

Tic Tac began to stand after the first night of her recovery. (CC RezQs Regina)

"You need to grab them very close to their attachment sites in the skin and just kind of do a little twist motion to pull them out," she said. "After, you want to kill the tick."

Tic Tac is not available for adoption at this time, but is being looked after by a vet clinic employee until fully recovered.

Donations to help cover Tic Tac's veterinary bill can be made by calling TM'z Vet Clinic at (306)731-3266, or by sending an e-transfer to with the password: ticks.