A valiant dog risked it all to protect her family from armed intruders. The heroic story unfolded in Pretoria, South Africa earlier this month when a group of robbers broke into the Motalane family’s residence. Facing this menacing threat, a fearless Africanis dog named Phoenix sprang into action, confronting the intruders head-on. However, the criminals resorted to violence, firing a gunshot that tragically struck Phoenix in the head. Undeterred by the grievous wound, Phoenix continued her brave charge, eventually driving the robbers away.
Urgent Medical Miracle
Recognizing the dire need for immediate medical attention, Phoenix’s owner, Mmakgomo Motalane, rushed her to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital (Ovah), affiliated with the University of Pretoria’s faculty of veterinary science.
Upon her arrival at Ovah, a dedicated team of veterinarians sprang into action. Their first priority was to stabilize Phoenix and assess the extent of her injuries. The initial evaluation revealed a bullet wound on the left side of her mouth, with an exit wound on the opposite side.
A Two-Day Battle for Survival
Dr. Anike de Witt, a small animal surgical resident, shed light on the complex process of saving Phoenix, a journey spanning two days. “The first procedure involved cleaning the wound, conducting radiographs, and assessing the damage caused by the bullet, particularly to her upper and lower jaw,” explained Dr. de Witt.
Radiographs exposed bone fragments and broken teeth, further confirming the severity of the poor dog’s injuries. Dr. Mareli van der Wetering, specializing in dental and maxillofacial surgery, along with Prof. Gerhard Steenkamp, worked tirelessly for 45 minutes to alleviate Phoenix’s pain, clean the wound, and remove bone fragments and broken teeth. An oesophageal feeding tube was also inserted as Phoenix was unable to eat due to her injuries.
Phoenix’s Road to Recovery
The following day, Phoenix underwent surgery to remove half of her jaw. This intricate surgery involved not only the removal of a portion of her jaw but also the careful narrowing of her lip to prevent her tongue from constantly protruding. The procedure lasted 90 minutes.
Post-surgery, Phoenix received attentive care in the high-care ward from Ovah’s staff and students. She was discharged when she was at ease, and she regained the ability to eat orally.
A Hero’s Second Chance at Life
A follow-up appointment ten days after her discharge brought delightful news: Phoenix was recovering splendidly, relishing her meals, and wagging her tail as normal.
Mmakgomo Motalane, the brave dog’s devoted owner, expressed his gratitude for the miracle that gave his beloved pet a second chance at life. Dr. de Witt remarked that this rare and remarkable case not only saved Phoenix but also mended the bonds within the family.
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