June 27, 2014 6:33 pm

Riley the ‘miracle dog’ lucky to be alive following back surgery

Watch above: An animal rescue group and a local vet took a chance on an injured dog, and the results are nothing short of amazing. Kendra Slugoski reports.

EDMONTON – A local animal rescue group says it’s shocked to see how well a young dog is recovering, just days after going through rare, life-saving back surgery.

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“The last time we saw him he could not walk at all. So for me to see him prancing out the door is quite a surprise, a happy surprise, but a surprise nonetheless,” said Terra MacLean with the Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS).

Riley, a black Labrador cross, was brought in to one of SCARS’ regular spay and neuter clinics with a broken back. The eight-month-old pup had been hit by a car and his owners weren’t able to afford his veterinary care.

“We had honestly thought we were taking him in to have him humanely euthanized,” explained MacLean. “We didn’t think there was anything that could be done.”

MacLean says SCARS has never seen a dog with a broken back survive; that is, until Dr. Dave Fowler with Guardian Veterinary Centre stepped in. But at first even Fowler thought Riley’s outlook seemed bleak.

“Based on the X-rays, my immediate reaction was that there was no way that Riley was going to recover from that fracture. It had basically a 100 per cent displacement in the middle of the lumbar spine. And typically, that’s associated with complete spinal cord injury.”

But when Fowler saw Riley, he was surprised to see the Lab was wagging his tail, so decided to take him on as a patient. On Sunday, Riley underwent surgery, which involved using a plate and screws to stabilize his spine. And his recovery has been nothing short of amazing.

“It’s pretty amazing; he was walking within 24 hours of his surgery so that’s phenomenal,” said Fowler. “He’s very lucky that he’s doing what he’s doing.

“Riley is certainly about the fastest recovery from this kind of a fracture I’ve ever seen.”

MacLean says Riley has quickly stolen the hearts of staff members at SCARS, who are equally as impressed with his recovery and infectious energy.

“We call him Riley the miracle dog.”

Riley will have to be closely monitored for the next few months. A staff member from SCARS will be fostering the pup until he is ready to be put up for adoption.

With files from Kendra Slugoski, Global News.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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