By: Amy Rosenthal, My Pet’s Brace Practitioner

The Patient: Lt Danny, a 2-year-old, 40-pound Pitbull terrier with congenital amputations of both rear paws

Case of Interest: As a young active dog without rear paws, Lt Danny’s family was concerned about his long-term quality of life.  They pursued bilateral prosthetic devices to protect his residual limbs, level his spine for proper alignment, and reduce overcompensation on his front legs.

Diagnostic History: Lt Danny was born in Georgia without his rear paws distally from the calcanei. He was rescued by a veterinarian who decided that prostheses were needed to ensure that Lt Danny would not develop arthritis or develop any back issues due to the height discrepancy between his fore and rear legs. Prosthetics were also needed to protect the skin covering the residual lumps from injury. Before Lt Danny coming to our facility multiple sets of devices were attempted by another company but were unsuccessful.

Lt Danny came to our facility on New Year’s Eve 2019 for an evaluation for bilateral prostheses. His weight-bearing, range of motion, activity level, skin sensitivity, and height discrepancies were examined. It was determined that he would be a good candidate for bilateral prosthetics. Casts were formed around the remaining portion of the limbs and focused specifically on the distal end to ensure the as comfortable and intimate fit of the devices as possible. The height discrepancy between the shoulder and hip was determined to ensure that the prosthetics were the proper height for a better conformation.

The prosthetics were created with a hard plastic outer shell for stability and a softer padded inner shell for protection. The inner shell is slipped onto the residual limb first, then it is inserted into the outer shell. This design allows for the inner shell to come apart from the outer shell in extreme cases such as the prosthetic becoming lodged in a hole while outside. The fit between the inner and outer shells is tight enough so that during a normal activity such as walks, running, and jumping the prosthetic will stay firmly in place but only during extreme cases will the shells separate.

Follow-Ups: Lt Danny was seen approximately one week after delivery to determine the fit of the prosthetics after a few days of the break-in and consistent wearing. Appropriate adjustments were made to the devices to ensure comfort and safety. Lt Danny continues to use the prosthetics for exercise and uses them to run and play with his friends at doggy daycare.