By: Amy Rosenthal, My Pet’s Brace Practitioner
The Patient: Purdy, a 45-pound Golden Retriever with missing rear paws.
Case of Interest: Purdy suffered from frostbite on both of her rear paws when she was around 1 week old and both of her paws were amputated. At 8 weeks old, she was rescued and her new family provided her with all the love and medical care she needed. Besides the missing rear paws, she was a happy healthy puppy.
As she grew, she put almost all of her weight on her front legs to walk which caused severe kyphosis. The distal ends of her limbs had abrasions and callousing of the skin due to her walking on them without any protection. She put some weight on her right rear leg, but her left appeared to cause her more pain, possibly from scar tissue adhered to the bone.
Purdy visited My Pet’s Brace for two prostheses to protect her rear residual limbs and to provide her with greater mobility. She was evaluated at our facility when she was 5 ½ months old and two prosthetic devices were fabricated. A new design of prostheses was made when she was around two years of age. She also attended physical therapy sessions to help desensitize the ends of her stumps and to walk with proper alignment.
Diagnostic History: Purdy visited our facility to be evaluated for prosthetic devices. Two prostheses were created and fitted in August of 2016 when Purdy was approximately 6 months old. Adjustments were made to the prostheses to relieve any excess pressure and reduce the chance of rubbing and sores. Purdy’s owners were instructed to allow her to wear the devices for 30 minutes the first day and increase by 30 minutes each day, for a total of 6 – 8 hours per day. She was given no restrictions with regards to play and exercise but was encouraged to go out for short walks a few times a day. With time, she learned to bear more weight on her rear legs, which reduced the stress on her front limbs and allowed her to flatten out her spine.
In February of 2017, when Purdy was approximately 2 years old, the second set of prostheses were fitted. The new design was non-jointed at the hock, wrapped farther up the stumps of her legs, and fabricated with a more flexible plastic for the outer shell. Purdy never took to the new prostheses even though no pressure points or fit issues were detected. She continues to wear her original devices to this day.
Follow-Ups: Purdy returns every six months to My Pet’s Brace for follow-up appointments. At each of these appointments, the condition of her skin and her activity level is assessed and the prostheses are adjusted accordingly. An adjustment that has been made several times was the replacement of the soles as they wear down due to her activity level.
Purdy is a very happy active dog and her prostheses enable her to use all four of her legs to walk, run, and play with her human and doggie family. She enjoys lots of love and going to the beach with her siblings, but she prefers to stay on the sand and out of the water.