Canine burn victim ‘Riona’ recovering after first of many skin surgeries

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 5:57 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The canine burn victim “Riona” underwent the first of many skin expander surgeries on Thursday.

Tails of Hope Dog Rescue has been caring for Riona during her long journey to recovery after intentionally being set ablaze two months ago.

One-year-old Riona suffered fourth-degree burns on over 60% of her body when she was doused with an accelerant and set on fire on June 20.

Thursday’s procedure involved surgically installing a tissue expander to the healthiest and largest section of Riona’s skin on the right side of her abdomen.

Similar to a breast implant, this expander is filled with a saline solution every few days through a small protruding tube. As a result, the skin is able to be slowly stretched so that it can later be removed and used as grafts over the burns on Riona’s left legs.

Tails of Hope announced on Friday that the first of these surgeries was successful.

Riona loving on veterinary staff. (Trail of Hope Dog Rescue)
Riona loving on veterinary staff. (Trail of Hope Dog Rescue)((Trail of Hope Dog Rescue))

For the past two months, Riona required sedation for her twice-a-day bandage changes over her burns. On Wednesday, the rescue announced that for the first time, she was able to have her bandages changed without sedation.

“Why? Because she is healing! She is stronger! Fewer bandages!” Tails of Hope said on Facebook.

Riona’s abuser, Quishon Brown, remains in Shelby County Jail on felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and setting fire to personal property, and a misdemeanor count of assault.

On July 30, Brown saw his bond increased to $150,000 after prosecutors played a tape in court on which he threatened to shoot reporters if “they come to his home again,” said Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.

Tails of Hope is selling #JusticeForRiona t-shirts to raise money for the expensive veterinary procedures and to raise awareness for Riona.

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