Rescued Dog Gets a (New) Leg Up on Life

August 13, 2008 at 1:16 am Leave a comment

The Biloxi Sun-Herald reports:

Three years ago, Cassidy Posovsky was a three-legged German shepherd mix hobbling homeless around the Bronx. Last week, he was a medical pioneer getting fitted with a cutting-edge prosthetic that could one day help thousands of veterans and others who lose limbs in trauma.

If all goes well, Cassidy’s artificial leg will fuse into his bone, and he should be on all fours in months – paving the way for veterinary orthopedic surgeons at North Carolina State University to start working with doctors for human implantation.

Sun-Herald Photo

If it’s successful, Cassidy’s surgery may guide the way for similar operations in humans.  Disabled veterans will likely be the largest population to benefit because, as a group, soldiers represent some of the healthiest candidates for prosthetic devices today.

Cassidy’s prosthetic is unique.  According to the Sun-Herald:

The most novel part of the device is its fusion to the bone and protrusion from the skin – a development that had previously been hampered by a tendency for the skin to become infected.

“We have a very different design,” Harryson said. “It has both a bone ingrowth part and a soft tissue ingrowth part.”

The other end of the knob will stick out of Cassidy’s back haunch like a short metal peg leg. In a few months, the full prosthesis will be installed on this end of this peg.

When his leg heals, Cassidy will get a space-age prosthesis.  According to the medical team, his back leg will be a smaller version of the legs that Oscar Pistorius (the South African double-amputee sprinter) races around on.

Oscar Pistorius

The Sun-Herald reports that:

Owners Steve and Susan Posovsky, who identified themselves as Cassidy’s parents, sat nervously in the waiting room as Cassidy was rolled into surgery. Other pet owners bringing their dogs to the vet rallied around the Posovskys, offering them support.

The Posovskys said the decision to put their dog under the knife was difficult. Since they adopted him three years ago, he has become an integral part of their home.

And while human applications were on the minds of the NCSU team, the Posovskys said their main interest was Cassidy’s quality of life. They want him to take long walks along with their other dog, a Rhodesian ridgeback named Bella.

“We spoil him,” Steve Posovsky said. “He has three legs; we let him do whatever he wants.”

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Entry filed under: animal rights, dogs, health, rescue, science. Tags: , , .

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