East TN family says tick bite killed their dog
The Davidsons took their dog, Riley, everywhere.
"He liked to ride in the car. He loved to go camping with us every summer."
The seven-year-old pup was a part of the Bean Station family.
"You love them just like you would love a human," Faith Davidson said.
They never thought a bite from a tick would take him away.
"I never imagined that a little tiny tick could cause so much damage and be so life-threatening."
Faith's mom Jama Davidson spotted the tick a couple weeks earlier. She didn't think much of it at the time--they thought Riley was up-to-date on his flea and tick medication and they had seen ticks on dogs before.
But Riley's tick was particularly dangerous. He contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease and got sick.
"It got so bad that we had to syringe feed him baby food just so he got some nutrition," Faith said.
Riley's liver began to fail.
Jama said his last few weeks were heartwrenching.
"Watching him dwindle away and just sort of go slowly and know we were doing everything we could but it wasn't enough."
Riley died when the family was at church one day in June.
It's a scary scenario that could be getting more common in East Tennessee.
Read more from WBIR's website.