Meet Colville (aka CJ), a 2 year old rescued Pittie mix currently cared for by foster mom Jennifer of Black Dog Second Chance Rescue in New York. Colville was born with agenesis of his distal right forelimb, meaning that his toes and paw never fully formed. Colville previously had a prosthetic limb from another manufacturer, but he received that prosthetic early in life and eventually outgrew it. When it became obvious from the way he was using it that his old device was too small and he would need a new prosthetic, Black Dog and Jennifer reached out to OrthoPets to make Colville’s next leg for him.
In order to fabricate a functional forelimb prosthetic, OrthoPets needs at least 40-50% of the antebrachium (radius/ulna) remaining for the patient to have adequate proprioception and control of the limb, as well as device suspension. Colville’s OrthoPets case manager Silver began by assessing videos of Colville in his old device along with radiographs of his limb to determine how much limb he had, which in Colville’s case was plenty. Silver recommended a fairly standard below carpus prosthetic with a “clamshell” type design to fasten to the stump. His new device has a removable liner, which makes it easier to keep clean, as well as to just replace the liner when it’s worn out rather than refurbish the whole device every time the lining wears down too much to be functional any longer.
Early after Colville received his device, he had it fall off from a bout of playing too hard, but otherwise he has had relatively few concerns since receiving his new prosthetic. Because he is a Pittie mix with typical thin/sensitive skin and haircoat, he did have some areas of friction and rubbing. Silver says, “Typically irritation [from a device] comes in 3 forms: Pressure, friction and heat retention.” Some of this irritation on Colville’s stump was most likely actually caused when he was not wearing his prosthetic , and then unfortunately exacerbated by the prosthetic when he was using it. Colville also struggles with chronic allergic hives, which sometimes mean he just has to take a break from wearing his prosthetic until the hives subside. Since he saw continuing skin irritation even with careful management, Silver eventually recommended that Colville wear a custom Drifit prosthetic sock underneath his device to help protect his delicate skin and keep things nice and dry. OrthoPets also made some adjustments to Colville’s device with “glide” material to help mitigate areas of heat/friction, and sometimes Jennifer uses various powder products to help with dryness and reduce friction inside the device.
The biggest challenge for Colville with his prosthetic, other than his sensitive Pittie skin, and his allergies, is that he is so incredibly active, but with careful donning technique, his prosthetic has kept up with his hard-playing style! Check him out showing off his skills with his prosthetic in the water and on a steep shale bank in this cute video from foster mom Jennifer:
Awesome job, Colville and Jennifer!
Colville is currently available for adoption through Black Dog Second Chance Rescue.