Beaten dog returns to WSU veterinary college for reassessment

By Charlie Powell, College of Veterinary Medicine

Theia-webPULLMAN, Wash. – The ownerless dog that a month ago was hit by a car, bludgeoned and buried only to crawl out of its shallow grave four days later is returning to Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital on Tuesday, April 21.

Theia will return for reassessment of jaw and skull fractures suffered as a result of being hit by a car followed by what is believed to be a failed attempt to euthanize her with blows to the head.

The euthanasia attempt caved in her sinus passages with fractures extending to the back of her eye socket and dangerously close to the base of her brain. If all goes well, WSU surgeons will attempt to reestablish an airway through her crushed sinuses – but not without taking great caution.

Repairs involve some risk

The plan is to view the damage under digital fluoroscopy and with two types of endoscopy.  With Theia under anesthesia and complete pain control, veterinary surgeons and internal medicine specialists will introduce a flexible endoscope (like a telescope) into her mouth and curl it back into the sinus cavity from the point where it naturally drains into her throat.

Theia and her caretaker Sara Mellado. (Photo by Linda Weiford, WSU News)

In the meantime, another part of the surgical team will use a small rigid endoscope and enter her nose. Together, they hope to establish whether or not they can open the sinus with a minimum amount of additional trauma.

Some bones in that region of the skull are the thickness of egg shells and the tissue over them that sustains the bone is very thin. Overly aggressive attempts to re-establish a sinus could result in tissue and bone loss that could make her condition worse.

Extra funds will aid other animals

Beyond the initial plan, WSU veterinary specialists will decide what needs to be done next, keeping the dog’s best interests paramount.

Costs are estimated to run as high as $10,000 depending on what needs to be done.  Fortunately, Theia’s foster caretaker, Sara Mellado of Moses Lake, Wash., has raised more than $28,000 for her care through a crowdsource funding website:

Mellado has pledged that any funds remaining will be donated back to the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Good Samaritan Fund, which provided the initial funding for Theia’s care.  For information about the fund, visit


Sara Mellado, Theia’s caretaker, 253-347-9392,
Charlie Powell, WSU College of Veterinary Medicine public information officer, call or text 509-595-2017,

MEDIA NOTE: Members of the media requesting access to Theia, her procedures and the WSU veterinary surgeons involved should contact Powell. Images are available at



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