Vet Helps Lucy “Grow” Leg Bone - Care-A-Lot Pet Supply
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Vet Helps Lucy “Grow” Leg Bone

Lola and Lucy, before her surgery (Life With Dogs)
Lola and Lucy, before her surgery (Life With Dogs)

When Jessica Canton went looking to adopt a puppy, what first drew her to Lucy, a Black Lab puppy only a few weeks old, was one crooked front paw. What she didn’t realize was that the cute, outward-facing paw was actually a deformity that had left the bones of her right leg misshapen and would soon start to cause her pain.

Lucy, along with her sister Lola, were both adopted and quickly settled in to their new home in Boston. Initially, both dogs were very active; each day was filled with playing and walking. After that, Jessica began to notice subtle changes in Lucy’s behavior. Lola would want to play with her sister, but Lucy would need to stop and sit. And after play, Jessica would catch Lucy limping.

Jessica’s local veterinarian assured her that Lucy would be able to cope with her deformity as she aged. But as the limping continued to get worse, Jessica questioned her vet’s advice and was referred to MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston.

From the doctors at Angell, Jessica learned that Lucy’s misshapen paw was known as an angular limb deformity. Due to her outward-facing paw, her leg bone’s ability to bear weight was being compromised. Additionally, her deformed leg was almost an inch shorter than her other front leg.

Lucy underwent a procedure known as a corrective osteotomy. Lucy’s leg bone was cut and a device called a circular external fixator was attached to the outside of her leg in order to realign the bone.

Through the process of osteogenesis, the natural growth of new bone tissue, Lucy’s leg bone would slowly grow back together, kept aligned by the fixator. In the weeks that followed, Jessica would use a wrench to turn three knobs on the device three times a day to continue to encourage the growth of Lucy’s leg bone.

After 3 weeks, Lucy’s right leg had grown nearly a full inch, correcting the disparity between her two front legs.

Lucy will continue to wear the fixator for another month or two to allow her new bone tissue to fully heal and after that she’ll start working on strengthening the muscles of her leg. Once it’s off and Lucy is fully healed, Jessica expects a much better future for her. "I know she’ll go on to have many years to enjoy hiking, running, walks in the park and all the other activities that have been so hard for her in the past."

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