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Ria’s Surgery and Recovery

The rescuers took Ria to the vet and found that her paw was too badly injured to save. Initially, the vet was only going to amputate the front part of the paw, but the bone had become infected, so they had to take the whole front legs. The rescuers raised funds on social media and managed to get enough to cover the surgery. Then they asked if I’d be willing to foster Ria while she recovered.

I was reluctant because 1. my house was already pretty full with my own pets and a few foster pets and 2. I was going on a 2.5-week trip to the US in October. If I didn’t, they were going to send her to a shelter, which of course isn’t a good place for a puppy recovering from a major operation! So I said I could take her in for two or three weeks.

They wanted to bring her to me the very next day after her surgery! Fortunately, the vet recommended waiting one more day, but she was still in bad shape. She looked so depressed, even worse than the night she’d spent here. She didn’t want to move, didn’t want to eat. And then she started crying through the night.

sad dog in a cone

I didn’t have any instructions on what to do or what to expect. She was given two baggies of meds, rather unhelpfully labeled “painkiller” and “antibiotic” to be taken only once a day. It didn’t seem like enough.

So I did some research and found the Tripawds forum, which has been so helpful! After reading some pain management articles, I was even more convinced Ria hadn’t gotten the treatment she needed. I contacted the vet the rescuers had sent her to and asked specifically what the “painkiller” was and also if she’d been given any blood tests before surgery and whether it was safe for me to put flea treatment on her (I’d found a flea and had also learned that another dog recently rescued from the same area by a different rescuer had tick fever).

The vet replied that the “painkiller” was a simple anti-inflammatory! That’s like a doctor saying, “Just had your leg amputated? Take an ibuprofen once a day and you’ll be fine!”

They had removed many ticks from her and put on Advantage, so the flea I found must just not have died yet. However, they had not done any blood tests before surgery because of the rescuers’ “limited budget.”

I got Ria to my own vet as soon as possible and they prescribed her gabapentin and did a full blood test. Sure enough, she tested positive for tick fever, which causes anemia and lethargy. It requires a course of doxycycline for about a month, but symptoms start to resolve quickly.

My vet also advised me about changing and removing the bandage and wound cleaning. The rescuers and their vet didn’t seem to know anything about that either.

That night, Ria didn’t cry since she was on the medication. She started to perk up, get excited about food and hop around a little in her playpen.

4 thoughts on “Ria’s Surgery and Recovery”

  1. Ria, you found the best possible human to care for you. We are truly honored that we could be part of your story in some small way, but it was your foster mama who did the heavy lifting. You are a true survivor, stronger and more brave than most humans!

  2. Oh gosh, too have major surgery that amputates your leg and not giving any pain killers?? Absolutely inhumane! I’m just so glad she has found her way to you and now has such a strong advocate for her.

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