The advances in medical treatment are even benefiting animals, as seen in Sahebrao’s case. After getting caught in a poacher’s trap in 2012, the tiger was taken to the Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries Science University.
While there, he received treatment for renal failure and gangrene. Although Sahebrao survived, he lost three of his toes.
The tiger was moved to the Wildlife Rescue Centre in Nagpur’s Gorewada Zoo, where he was adopted by a local orthopedic surgeon, Sushrut Babhulkar.
The South China Morning Post reported that Sahebrao was known for his bad temper. But Dr. Babhulkar believes his poor manners might be due to physical pain.
From his experience working with people, the surgeon knows that after an amputation, “the patient keeps feeling that the crushed portion is attached to the body, and he/ she keeps experiencing pain. I realized Sahebrao must have been going through something similar.”
Dr. Babhulkar realized that giving Sahebrao a prosthetic paw might ease his pain. Dr. Peter Giannoudis, who specializes in bone regeneration, and Germany’s AO Foundation, which specializes in the repair of bones, have joined forces with Dr. Babhulkar to provide Sahebrao with an artificial limb.
The first step was completed in February and involved “a radiographic study of his limb.” Just recently, Sahebrao went through an operation, “for neuroma and arthritis that was causing neuralgia (pain in the nerve).”
Sahebrao will receive his prosthetic paw within 3-4 weeks after his operation. If all goes well, he will be pain-free very soon.