3 min read

6-Day-Old Puppy Makes The Cutest Recovery From Surgery

How much anesthesia do you give to a 6-day-old puppy who weighs less than a pound and is about to go into emergency surgery?

This was the challenge facing the staff at the ASPCA Animal Hospital in New York City when Ethan, a newborn shih tzu, arrived with an infected wound under his front right leg - and two eyes that seemed to ask, I'm going to be okay, right?

"Neonate anesthesia can be quite challenging," Dr. Mary St. Martin, one of the ASPCA veterinarians who worked with Ethan, said in a press release. "The nerves to their respiratory and cardiovascular systems are not completely developed, and their physiology makes them susceptible to hypoxemia (low oxygen level in the blood). But they can feel pain from birth."

It was clear that the puppy was already suffering. His human, Sally N., had brought him to the emergency room after noticing how upset he was.

"He was crying," she said in the release. "He had a wound that smelled and looked like it was infected." She suspects that his mother accidentally injured the pup while cleaning or moving him.

Fortunately, the surgery was a success, and three weeks later, Dr. Martin removed Ethan's stitches.

In that short amount of time, Ethan had already tripled his body weight, a good sign of recovery for such a young, growing puppy.

As a hospital worker, Sally is familiar with what it takes to heal. "We had many sleepless nights, and were up with Ethan every hour on the hour," she explained to the ASPCA.

Sally had faith in Ethan's ability to recover, despite his size. "I said a little prayer," she said. "I knew he was tiny but I also knew he was strong."

For more stories on animals like Ethan, check out the ASPCA's Facebook page.

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