Vet Successfully Sews One Stitch in Teeny Tree Frog Whose Lung Was Exposed, Loving ‘all Creatures Great and Small’
In the bitcoin community, there’s a phrase that someone has “diamond hands,” which means they will never drag the price down through selling. Well that’s nothing compared to the hands of one Australian veterinarian who performed surgery on a tree frog the size of a fingertip.
Brought in by accident on some of the eucalyptus meant to feed the koalas at the RSPCA facility in Wacol, Brisbane, the tiny green tree frog wasn’t doing so well when wild animal vet Meaghan Barrow got a hold of him.
“[A colleague] 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,’” she told ABC news Australia.
“I had a close look and he actually had a little hole, it was only a couple of millimeters but on a tiny frog that’s only two centimeters long, that’s quite a big hole inside of his chest.”
Some of the frog’s internal organs were poking out of the hole, and so the treatment plan was pretty straightforward—the frog needed a stitching up. And so administering anesthesia diluted to one one-thousandth of a dose to compensate for his tiny size, Barrow set to work.
That wasn’t the end of the compensation, as all the surgical tools—the needle and the suture material, had to be miniscule.
Furthermore, the normal application of pressure Barrow might apply when giving stitches to larger animals couldn’t work with the frog given how thin amphibian skin is. Amphibians like frogs sometimes draw oxygen through their skin, and so it’s very delicate.
Steadying her diamond hands, Barrow successfully applied a single dissolvable suture and declared the operation a success.
Indeed the frog was happily hopping around again the very next day, and even had his bright green color back, though that may have been a result of the painkillers, diluted again to one one-thousandth.
“You learn to treat so many different animals that you have to be adaptable and try the skills that you’d apply to a dog or a cat, to any species,” Barrow commented, noting that she had done surgery on tiny frogs before, and that she was happy to help the little guy.