Turner is a nine year old Bassett/Labrador mix who limped into Sabal Chase Animal Clinic after playing and running in his favorite field. What we hoped was a garden variety, soft tissue injury turned out to be a compound fracture. Upon closer examination, the bones appeared to be weak and brittle, which was surprising given Turner’s age and historically clean bill of health. A bone biopsy confirmed our worst fears. The bones had weakened as a result of osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer with a very poor prognosis. After consulting with veterinary oncologists, we were forced to accept the fact that the leg would not heal, the cancer would spread quickly, and we would be saying goodbye to Turner in a matter of weeks. We would stabilize the broken leg with stiff bandaging materials, make him comfortable, and brace ourselves for a difficult, yet imminent end-of-life decision. That was February 2012! As Turner continued to defy the odds, his bandage changes became more frequent. The bills were mounting, the patient was rallying, and it was becoming increasingly obvious that a longer term solution was in order. At a recent Sabal Chase Animal Clinic “Yappy Hour”, I found myself chatting with a client named Richard Hughes. Richard works for BioSculptor Innovative Solutions, a company that designs, makes, and custom fits prosthetic limbs for amputees. Thanks to their creative ingenuity, Turner now gets around on a custom-made, removable brace. While he is still getting used to it, he’s showing no signs of discomfort and refuses to slow down. His owner just reported that the other night, he bolted out the front door and chased a neighbor’s cat off the lawn! To Richard Hughes and BioSculptor Innovative Solutions (http://biosculptor.com/), we send out our deepest appreciation and thanks. As for Turner, we hope and pray he continues to remind us that hope, courage and perseverance are just a few of the many things that cancer cannot destroy.
Many thanks to Richard Hughes of BioSculptor Innovative Solutions for his time and kindness inventing a new solution to help dogs with leg injuries!
To start this process, Turner's leg must be scanned into the computer. A stockinette has been placed over his leg to smooth down the hair and to keep the scan smooth.
The patient must be sedated during the scanning procedure so that he remains still.
The scanner is passed over Turner's leg repeatedly. This is completely painless. It's like scanning a bar code!
The scanning process requires care and patience.
The scanning must be exact to produce the image necessary for prosthetic construction.
Even though the problem area may be in the lower leg, the entire leg must be scanned. The prosthetic device will redirect any weight bearing forces around the injury so that he can walk normally.
Here is a digital image of Turner's leg.
Continuing the scan...
The result of this scan is a three dimensional image in the software that can be used as a template for the prosthetic's construction
The scanned image has been used to make a cast replica of Turner's leg, which is then used to size the prosthetic cast
The prosthetic cast comes in two "clamshell" halves that fit together over Turner's leg
This is what the prosthetic will look like fitted.
The prosthetic fitted on Turner's foreleg!
The two halves can be stabilized with cable-ties or tape
The patient must be sedated at the initial fitting to ensure all is done correctly. Subsequent fittings can be done with him awake!
Here is a video of Turner's prothetic fitting!
And, finally: A video of Turner walking on his "new leg"!