Julie arrives with tiny crossbreed Terrier, six-year-old Ren, who’s been attacked by another dog and the paw of one of her front legs has been ripped off. Julie rescued Ren as a stray living on a rubbish tip. Although she has a multiple dog family and runs a rescue centre, Ren has a very special place in Julie’s heart and she’s hoping for a solution. The options appear to be possibly replacing the paw with a bionic implant or amputating the entire limb. “She’s super-cute, but aesthetics shouldn’t sway us,” Noel says. “I would be very reluctant to recommend a limb amputation prosthesis, which is skeleton-anchored, because we would put her through an awful lot, and she would probably be fine on three legs”. Noel instead suggests a third option to try to save the leg: a custom made, removable, suction cup prosthesis.
Julie runs a kennel and rescue centre in Dunstable and lives with nine dogs. Ren had a tough start to life - Julie rescued Ren when she was just five month’s old, living in a rubbish tip. Ren holds a very special place in Julie’s heart.
Ren suffered a devastating injury to her front left paw when another dog attacked her. Julie rushed her straight to her local vet who suggested a full leg amputation but she decided to turn to Professor Noel Fitzpatrick to see whether he could provide Ren with a bionic solution.
Noel examined Ren’s x-rays and discovered that her foot had been ripped off from the paw down. He was perfectly confident that she would live a long and happy life on three legs, and was reluctant to offer amputation prosthesis because she would face a major operation. Instead, he suggested a suction cup prosthesis (a removable foot). Julie was thrilled at the idea of Ren being able to walk again and even more so at the prospect of not having major surgery.
It would take a few weeks for Noel to work with a local prosthetics company to create Ren’s prosthetic foot but in the meantime, he was concerned about infection in her open wound and needed to seal it to create a stump for the prosthetic foot. He decided to cut back the bone up to her wrist and remove the infected area. He then created a stump for the prosthetic foot and bandaged her foot up to create a mould for the stump prosthesis. Ren was in great condition and spent the next five days on the ward recovering before Julie took her home.
Two months after the attack, Ren returned to Fitzpatrick Referrals to test out her prosthetic foot. The model consisted of two components – a silicon liner (to buffer the skin and avoid sores) and a carbon fibre sleeve produced with a rubber foot. Noel’s colleague Cameron assisted with fitting it – to ensure additional measurements were taken for the final model. The model needed just a few more tweaks before completion – it wasn’t long until Ren would be back up and running again.
She’s a sweet little dog. She’s got a super temperament.
Back in Bedfordshire, Ren started living life to the full with her prosthetic foot. Her brothers and sisters hadn’t even noticed any difference and welcomed her back to the pack. Julie had noticed how much more resilient she was and she was running around totally carefree – just as she was before.