OrthoPets Case Study: Taz Miranda.
Taz is a 1-year-old Boxer mix from Brazil who was born with a congenital malformation of both forelimbs. OrthoPets Brazil first saw Taz when he was 6 months of age. Taz would move by using his hind limbs to propel himself forward and bounce off of his chest.
His owners purchased him a front wheel cart in hopes of improving his mobility, but were not satisfied with the results and were wanting him to walk using his forelimbs. Taz’s owners were looking to address the missing forelimbs and to provide a better quality of life and prevent secondary injuries over time.
Taz’s left forelimb did not develop with metacarpals, phalanges, and the radius and ulna are malformed or missing. Taz’s right forelimb did form a small ulna, but no radius. In order to attach a functional thoracic limb prosthesis, a patient would require a minimum of 40-50% of the radius and ulna to allow suspension on the limb itself. Therefore, options were not available for Taz’s right thoracic limb. Taz’s left forelimb did not develop enough limb to maintain suspension with a standard prosthesis, however, he was a candidate for a hybrid style device.
Since Taz’s condition left him with limited options, OrthoPets fabricated a unique design for Taz called a “Nena style” prosthesis. A Nena prosthesis relies heavily on a functional and strong shoulder in order to complete swing phase and advance the limb. Since Taz does not have an elbow with full range of motion, a Nena style prosthesis for the left leg was his only option because it does not require the elbow joint to extend. Taz’s Nena prosthetic was fabricated with adjustability in height. Taz was started with the shortest setting because he had become accustomed to bouncing off of his chest for mobility. As his muscles developed through rehabilitation, the height was gradually increased to a normal standing height.
Taz and his family have worked very hard and regularly attend rehabilitation sessions to gain function and muscle memory for Taz to learn how to function with a single forelimb prosthesis. Taz began with learning to balance in his device with a rehabilitation peanut. Once Taz perfected his balance with a single forelimb he began working on his swing phase. This involved a lot of therapeutic and strengthening exercises as well as treadmill work. Taz has mastered his swing phase and is now learning how to walk without assistance. Taz has been in his Nena prosthesis for almost 6 months and thanks to his parents’ hard work he is slowly, but surely, achieving his parents’ goals.