May 2019 OrthoPets Case Study for the Canine Rehabilitation Institute: Sneaky, a Tripawd
Sneaky is a 10 year old female spayed Pit Bull mix, whose right hind leg was amputated in Feb. 2019, as a result of a pathological distal tibial fracture secondary to osteosarcoma. As an older dog who was also already showing signs of a possible cranial cruciate ligament rupture on her left hind limb, her owners were keen to protect her remaining stifle and give her added support.
A typical bully-type dog in conformation, Sneaky posed some interesting suspension challenges for an orthosis. Bully breed dogs tend to have petite, low-set malleoli, and muscular, conical thighs, all of which make for a challenging fit in a stifle orthosis. Ordinarily, we would solve this by adding a tarsal shell to the distal end of the device, but the frontal and transverse plane movements tripawd dogs typically use in gait can cause skin concerns with a rigid tarsal shell.
We wanted to avoid this issue for Sneaky, so instead of the usual plastic tarsal cuff, we created a new, technical suspension system for the distal end of Sneaky’s device, made of soft neoprene. This allows excellent grab of the device without the hard tarsal shell of our more traditional tarsal cuff. As a result, Sneaky’s device stays aligned nicely at the stifle while accommodating her gait patterns as a tripawd. Getting used to her device will still take time and patience, but she has an excellent team of rehab professionals to keep her moving!