For veterinarians, there’s no such thing as “too small to matter” when it comes to saving lives!
Dr. Meaghan Barrow is a senior wildlife veterinarian at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Wacol, Australia. She treats an assortment of native animals and can handle just about any creature, large or small.
Meaghan was at work recently when a coworker came to her with their tiniest patient yet: a graceful tree frog. These cute little amphibians are only about 2 centimeters (or .7 inches) long and weigh less than half a gram. That’s just .001 pounds!
The tree frog in question was so small that he could fit on the tip of Meaghan’s finger.
“One of our vet nurses found him on some leaves that had been brought in to feed some of our koalas,” the vet told a Brisbane radio station. “She brought him into the clinic to me and she was really worried, she said ‘he seems to have a lump on the side of his body.'”
When she examined the frog, Meaghan discovered that he had a tiny hole in his side. “He was quite badly injured,” she said. Parts of his lung and intestines were even poking out of the hole. Meaghan knew the only way to ensure he would survive such a serious wound was to stitch him up.
First, she had to administer the faintest drop of anesthesia to put the frog to sleep. “We had to dilute the medication by one in 1,000, to get a tiny, tiny dose to be able to make him go to sleep so he couldn’t feel anything,” she explained.
Using their smallest medical instruments, Meaghan was then able to administer one minuscule suture that will dissolve on its own. The next day, the frog was feeling better!
“Sometimes when they have surgery and injury, their color changes to brown, but very quickly he was bright green again and happy,” she said.
Meaghan said this was definitely the smallest patient she’s ever operated on, and she was thrilled to get him back up and hopping. Following the surgery, the little guy was fed mealworms and given pain relief and antibiotics. A week later, he was ready to be released back into the wild!
The whole experience left Meaghan feeling elated to be doing what she loves and making a difference in animals’ lives.
“It’s just really rewarding to be able to offer help,” she said.
All creatures deserve love, great and small! Veterinarians go into their line of work because they truly adore animals of all kinds. Even the modest tree frog is worthy of their care and attention!
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