Meningeal worm. Also known as M-worm, brain-worm, or P. tenuis.
The natural host of the worm is white tailed deer and it’s picked up by passing slugs or snails, then accidentally ingested by camelids, goats, sheep, or other domesticated farm animals. M-worm doesn’t cause any problems for the deer, but in a foreign host the worm gets “lost” and finds it’s way to the brain or spinal cord causing all sorts of neurological disorders.
Recently, Patrick started acting a little off. It started with a small limp in one back leg. I checked him out and couldn’t find the problem. So we gave him some time to come around, but a week went by and his entire hind end seemed stiff. Then, he started dragging his toes on both his back legs. His front half was fine. He was eating, drinking, and alert. He didn’t have a temperature, but it was like his back half was drunk and stumbling around. He crossed his legs with every step and we decided it was time to call a vet. Based on his symptoms and lack of other illness, she diagnosed him with meningeal worm and we began treatment right away.
His treatment included: One intramuscular shot of Ivermectin (wormer) for three days, two intramuscular shots of Banamine (pain reliever/anti-inflammatory) for three days, a large dose of Safe-Guard (wormer, 10x what is recommended on the bottle) for five days, and plenty of extra vitamins.
We finished his treatment on January 4th, but healing from the neurological damage can take up to a year. Unfortunately though, sometimes the animal never recovers fully and lives with the neurological problems for the remainder of their life.
Once his shots and oral medication were finished, he still received 30mL of nutri-drench a day for one more week. I mixed it in with his grain to make it easier on both of us. Let me remind you guys, bucks stink. Very bad. My buck coat, gloves, and pants now stay outside after this very hands-on time with Patrick. I don’t think I’ll ever get that smell out of them. Yuck!