Pet of the Month

Russell – L Rear Limb Prosthesis

Meet Russell, our August 2017 Pet of the Month.  Russell was born in August 2016 without the lower part of his left rear limb.  His left stifle (knee) was present along with 1/3 of his left tibia compared to the length of his right tibial.  His left hock (ankle) and paw were completely missing.

We met Russell on 12/21/16, when he was only 4 months old, because his family was interested in getting a prosthesis for his L rear leg if possible.  We love to meet puppies early when they have conditions like this for many reasons.  We can monitor their growth and know when they are likely done growing so that we can cast them as early as possible for their prosthesis.  We can also teach them (and their families) exercises to help the process of preparation for a prosthesis and adapting to it as quickly as possible.  The longer an animal goes without a prosthesis, the harder it is to convince them to use it consistently.

The length of Russell’s residual L rear limb, particularly the lack of his L hock, posed some challenges for successful prosthesis development.  It is much easier to fashion a prosthesis if the hock is present because it gives a more stable foundation for the device to attach to the rest of the body.  This doesn’t make it impossible, but more factors must be considering in the development of the prosthesis.  In order to attach a device at the stifle (knee), you must recognize that if they straighten the stifle completely, it might slide off or twist around and then prevent normal stifle motion.  This means adding components which will effectively attach the L rear limb prosthesis to the body with some additional attachment to the opposite rear leg.  Additionally, when a dog sits down, all of this could potentially slide right off the rump too.  For added security and proper positioning, a strap is used to connect the entire device to a harness around the chest.  Sounds like a lot and, realistically, it is…but you need to prepare for success and that means the prosthesis can’t fall off!  Fortunately, our friends at OrthoPets have done this for several other pets like Russell and he was in good hands for the building of his prosthesis.

Russell and his family worked hard on his exercises at home between his pre-prosthesis training sessions at Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Therapy for Pets.  They worked on handling his L rear leg as much as possible and protected it from scrapes and injury because Russell is an active young German Shepard with lots of energy.  He adapted well and even used his L rear leg most of the time despite its significantly shorter length.  All of this gave us confidence that he would adapt to his prosthesis, even though it would be a bit more complicated than most.  On 6/16/17, Russell was casted for his prosthesis.  We waited until he was 10 months old because as a larger breed dog, his rear limbs had plenty of length to achieve before the big day.

Russell got to try out his new prosthesis on 7/14/17 and he was a champ.  Despite all the components and new things he had to wear, he took his first steps without any drama.  The first day is the hardest, but he was a champ and we were all so proud.  He will continue to get used to wearing his device for longer periods of time over the next several weeks.  We are confident that he will build up endurance to go for long walks and play in no time at all.  The hardest part will probably be slowing him down because in order to teach consistency in using any prosthesis they have to put the device down and bear weight fully with each step.  Quick movement and running allows for cheating and only contributes to using the rest of their body to compensate and do more work.  We are looking forward to helping Russell make a successful transition to a 4-legged life and monitoring for any issues over his lifetime.

Shy - Spinal arthritis and HL ataxia

Bella – Journey Back from Bilateral Cruciate Injuries

Petey – Cervical Neck Pain & Weight Management

Mr. Belvidere – Rear Limb Neurologic Problems

Bella & Echo – Dock Diving Duo

Lucca - Orthosis Device for L FL Congenital Abnormality

Oliver – Chronic rear limb neurologic signs following back surgery

Brandy – Multiple Prolapsed Discs with a “Side of Arthritis”

Niki – Arthritis in Multiple Joints & Lots of Other Conditions too

Heckel – Post-op L TTA rehab & Agility Competitor

Finn – Assistance Dog with Spinal Arthritis and Muscle Atrophy

Joey – Conformation Competitor Returns to Action after TPLO Surgeries

Phoebe – Arthritis, Back & Neck Pain and an old CCL injury

Chica – Fractured Spine & Rear Limb Paresis

Indie – Bilateral Hip Dysplasia in a Young Dog

Tigger - R cruciate tear & a heart condition

Quigley - Unusual R Rear Limb Lameness

Boomer – Senior Agility Competitor

Marlo - Arthritis in Multiple Joints, Weight Loss Success Story

Charles J. Schnickelfritz - aka "Charlie" - R FL amputee

Nahanni - Severe arthritis in hips and lumbar spine

Roo, the Hopping Puppy - Unusual Front Limb Gait

Mason - Chronic Arthritis

Brunhilda - L HL house slipper prosthesis corrects 3rd limb for this kitty

Miss Daisy - R HL Prosthetic Device

Bodacious - post-op back surgery

Emma - L cruciate tear + IMHA/ITP

Chance - HL paresis

Vinny - L FL radial nerve damage

Sadie - L HL fractures with neurologic deficits

Doods - Post-op TPLO rehab in the canine athlete

Nema - R FL Orthotic Device

Lulu - L TPLO sx & Elbow Dysplasia

Faith - spinal traction injury

Ranger - FCE (Fibrocartilaginous Embolism)

Roy - R FL Congenital Abnormality & Prosthesis Patient

Bialy - OA, R Cruciate Tear, Wt Mgmt

Foxy - L FL lameness

Poppy - Fracture & MPL

Lady - IVDD/Disc Disease

Coco Channel - L HL amputation

Willow - Prosthesis for Congenital Limb Defect

Lucy - Lupus & Arthritis

Bailey - HL Neurologic Issues

Polar - Arthritis in Multiple Joints

Baby - Back Injury & Orthopedic Problems

Baxter - Spinal Luxation

Klara - Cruciate Sx & Disc Sx

Pebbles - Orthopedic & Neurologic Problems

Pixel - R Hock & R Stifle Sx