White buffalo recovers after surgery to fix toe
JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) _ Miracle, a buffalo said to fulfill an American Indian
prophecy when it was born white, has made it through toe surgery, but it
will be about six months until the 700-pound animal is fully recovered, a
The 5-year-old bison, whose coat has turned light brown, has been hobbling
around for the past few weeks because of an infection in one of her toes.
An injury had caused a bone chip and created an abscess in the remaining
The infection could have spread to the animal's leg if left untreated, so
Miracle's owners, Val and Dave Heider, and veterinarians from Evansville
Veterinary Service, decided to go ahead with Thursday's operation.
Usually, doctors simply remove the infected toe. But in Miracle's case, the
infected toe was the outside toe, which bears most of a bison's weight in
the rear. Removing that toe likely would have caused some difficulty walking
Doctors decided instead to remove the infected bone, but leave the toe and
hoof intact. That meant Miracle had to be completely sedated for the surgery,
which worried the Heiders even more than the operation.
That is because bison historically do not do well with anesthesia, said Dr.
Miracle weighs about 700 pounds and when animals that size lie down for too
long, fluid can fill their lungs and kill them. The idea is to sedate the
animal, anesthetize it, perform the procedure and wake the animal as quickly
as possible, Reese said.
Reese and Heider expect Miracle to make a full recovery. The bandage on Miracle's
foot will get changed every few days and it will take about six months for
the foot to completely heal.
``We're looking at keeping this buffalo around until she dies of old age,''
American Indians have cited a legend that says a buffalo born white will
change color four times before a prophecy signaling unification of the races
Miracle has turned brown, black and yellow over the years and currently is
blonde and brown. According to American Indian prophecy, the buffalo will
turn white again when there is world peace.
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