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Miracle dog Meg's remarkable survival story is looking better and better, with vets saying she likely does not have a heart infection and determining a leg they feared was broken was actually a dislocated joint.
With those pieces of news arriving yesterday, relieved owner Andy Cunningham could begin to hope his dog - who was found on Monday after being missing for five weeks - might make a full recovery.
''She does have a chest infection, though she is on a very severe course of antibiotics, and she is likely to be on that for some time,'' Mr Cunningham, co-chairman of Dunedin Wildlife Hospital, said.
''We need to feed her up, get rid of the infections, and after that the next step is orthopaedic surgery on her legs.''
Meg, a 6-year-old Labrador-huntaway cross, vanished in late January after being involved in a car crash.
Despite extensive searches by armies of volunteers there had been no sightings of Meg - until she was spotted on farmland near Purakaunui on Monday afternoon.
Meg has since been treated at the wildlife hospital on a daily basis, before being taken home at night.
The past two days had been spent feeding Meg intravenous antibiotics and fluids as she was badly emaciated and dehydrated when she was found, having lost half her body weight.
''It will be a tricky piece of surgery on her legs, and we're looking for someone now,'' Mr Cunningham said.
''We think the leg is salvageable . . . she is off morphine now, although she is still on strong painkillers.
''Each day it is beginning to look better.''
Meg was now eating and drinking voluntarily, and most of her bodily functions were normal.
Mr Cunningham had been inundated with offers from well-wishers wanting to help with Meg's veterinary bills.
At least 30 people have offered to make payments.
''To see the way the world is responding to Meg is just incredible,'' Mr Cunningham said.
''I didn't expect this to happen, but it seems to be a story which is touching a lot of hearts.''
Rather than putting the money towards Meg's vet fees, Mr Cunningham has instead asked people to donate to the wildlife hospital, which is treating Meg free of charge.