Bullfrog hops back to life after back surgery

 Dr. James Askew with his good friend Jeremiah, a bullfrog
PHOTO COURTESY DR. JAMES ASKEW Dr. James Askew with his good friend Jeremiah, a bullfrog

D'IBERVILLE -- Jeremiah was, and still is, a bullfrog thanks to the skilled hands of a local veterinarian. Dr. James Askew of Happy Tails Animal Hospital in D'Iberville recently performed back surgery on the Jeremiah, a large juvenile bullfrog that had been struck by a vehicle.

The frog was left for dead but Askew said a mailman picked it up and brought it to Wild at Heart Animal Rescue.

But getting Jeremiah to the animal clinic was not easy task for Wild at Heart's Missy Dubuisson.

"I am scared to death of frogs -- terrified of them," she said. "I'm not even kidding."

Dubuisson said that she could not let her ranidaphobia, or fear of frogs, prevent the wounded amphibian from receiving treatment.

"The frog's back was broken and it was clear that it needed help," she said. "I told my mom that I wasn't going to touch the frog but we had to get it to Dr. Askew."

Dubuisson said her mother just happened to be a fan of frogs.

"My mom loaded up the frog and took it to D'Iberville," she said.

Askew said that he has long known about Dubuisson's fear of frogs.

"I've tortured her with frogs for over a decade," he said.

Once Jeremiah was placed into Askew's care, he gave it some pain medication and observed it overnight before operating on its back.

Askew performed spinal fusion surgery on Jeremiah by using wire to fuse its spine.

"It's the same procedure that would be done on a human, but I did it on a frog," he said. "I don't know of any other surgeon that has performed this type of surgery on a frog and I wanted to see if I could do it."

Jeremiah, Askew said, is recovering well and is keeping some of his food down. The next step, or hop, for the bullfrog is rehabilitation.

"The frog may have to go somewhere else for rehab," Dubuisson said. "I'm too scared of them."