Thursday, December 9

Animals. In Russia, a veterinarian poses four artificial legs to a martyred dog

This is the story of a miracle girl: Monika, a Russian bitch, has regained the use of her four paws thanks to the complex fitting of titanium prostheses, a rare, expensive operation, and financed entirely online. Operated two weeks ago, the little creature with the beige coat is obviously still tired and fearful. But she’s walking.

“Luck and experience played a big role,” says modestly Sergey Gorchkov, the 33-year-old veterinarian behind this feat in the “Best” clinic in Novosibirsk, Siberia.

This is the first time he has performed a quadruple transplant on a dog, an operation he had already performed on a cat in 2019. About thirty other of his “patients” have benefited from artificial limb poses.

Rescued and transported by a group of volunteers

Monika has come back from afar. In December 2020, she was discovered dying in a forest in Krasnodar, southwestern Russia. Its four legs are nothing but gaping and bloody wounds. “Nobody knows what happened to him, some volunteers think that someone cut off his legs out of cruelty,” says Gorchkov.

Poor Monika, whose age is estimated between 2 and 4 years old, could then have known the fate of thousands of stray dogs found injured: euthanasia or, worse, a slow and painful death. But that was without counting the mobilization of a group of volunteers from Krasnodar. One of them, Alla Leonkina, says she took care of the dog with a friend for almost a year after her discovery. “She was in terrible shape.”

While treating the animal, Mrs. Leonkina thinks about the clinic of Doctor Gorchkov. Then, last spring, an online prize pool was launched to give Monika new life. In the space of a month, the group collects more than 400,000 rubles (4,800 euros), a large sum in Russia. There is still one problem: transporting Monika to Novosibirsk, 4,000 kilometers away. “She took the plane with me, sitting in a passenger seat,” says Alla Leonkina.

Monika’s guardian angels also funded the making of prostheses, made using a 3D printer. One of the animal’s legs broke during the first installation, forcing the vet to repeat a test two months later.

Now, he explains, everything is fine. Monika’s bones will be able to grow and adapt naturally to the prostheses, which, according to him, will become like “the antlers on the head of a deer”.

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