Ve Haf Vays of Making You Walk!

by Mark James on January 23, 2011

Mitzi, a German Shepherd, has become the first dog in the world to be fitted with cutting edge prosthetic foot and ankle.

Paralympians sporting fantastic-looking prosthetic limbs are a common sight nowadays. The pioneering design and space age materials they employ are a far cry from the wires-and-springs ‘can opener’ used by Tee Hee to menace James Bond in ‘Live and Let Die’, but as the technology is now within reasonable reach of anyone who needs it, it was inevitable that it would soon filter down to our pets.

Three year old Mitzi had to undergo surgery to amputate a portion of her rear right leg after being trampled by a horse. However, this unfortunate incident meant that vet Dr Noel Fitzpatrick could attempt to fit this particular prosthetic for the first time ever. It was a simple choice to make for Mitzi’s owner, Viv Davies.

Ms Davies, of Dorchester, said:

“The options were three legs, euthanasia, or give her a chance to walk. We had to give her a chance to walk.”

Mitzi underwent her operation, and was let off her leash for the first time last week, leading to the moment of truth when she went for her first run.

Dr Fitzpatrick explained:

“There was always a risk that the exoprosthesis could actually break when Mitzi ran off her lead so this truly was a nail biting moment for me and for the design team as it could have failed spectacularly.”

“Mitzi is walking with an entirely normal gait, with her foot moving exactly the way it should it marks day one of Mitzi’s return to living life like a normal dog.”

A rod made from titanium was inserted into Mitzi’s leg, which left her with a peg to which the prosthetic could be attached.

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