It’s finally time for 2-year-old German Shepherd Max to undergo surgery to give him a specially designed bionic foot. He lost his left foot when he was crushed by a car in Romania, but a local charity rescued him and he’s been given a second chance by his adoptive family Julie and Andy.

2-year-old German Shepard Max was brought to see Noel by his adopted family Julie and Andy. The pair had rescued the young German Shephard from a local charity that rescues needy dogs from Romania. Max used to be a scrapyard dog and was kept chained up underneath a trailer with a car on top, which fell on him one day. The accident resulted in a badly damaged left hind paw, which had to be removed below his hock joint, and a fractured right hind leg, which was repaired.

Max was first brought to Fitzpatrick Referrals 12 months ago to enquire about a prosthetic for the partially amputated left hind limb, but Noel felt that his right hind leg was a far more pressing problem as it was twisting outwards.  Noel operated on Max’s right hind leg to straighten it, which made a massive difference to Max’s life, enabling him to cope with a strap-on prosthetic for his left hind leg.

Max had been coping well with the prosthetic, but it started to cause sores on his stump, and so the time came for Max to be reviewed for a bionic prosthetic.  Noel and the team designed Max a unique prosthesis called a PerFiTS, which would ultimately give him a fully functioning limb.  Fitzpatrick Referrals is the only centre in the world offering this surgery.

Ten years ago it wasn’t possible to give Max a bionic limb, but as technology has developed and options have become available we feel that people should have the choice.  When Max’s parents were given that choice, they decided that it was right for Max to have a chance on four legs. We feel honoured to give the gift of mobility to many dogs and cats across the country and allow them to pursue an active lifestyle.

Once in theatre, Noel drilled the stem of the prosthesis into Max’s calcaneus, stitched down the tendons and stitched the skin around over a dome shape that the skin would adhere to, creating a seal to protect him from infection.  After the 90-minute operation, Noel fitted an adjustable temporary foot onto the external part of Max’s implant. He was kept at the practice until Noel and the team were confident that the skin was sealed tight and that infection was no longer a risk.

A couple of weeks later, Noel placed a permanent foot onto the end of Max’s prosthesis and he was able to go home with Julie and Andy, who would need to change his bandages daily and keep an eye on the wounds whilst they finished healing. If the skin didn’t continue to heal and adhere to the implant, Noel would have to consider removing Max’s leg completely.

Thankfully six months after receiving his bionic foot, two-year-old German Shepard Max has thrived and his follow up x-ray images have shown excellent progress of bone and skin growth with the implant. We are so pleased that Max has been able to have the second chance in life that he deserves!

Having this new foot has been an absolute life changer for him and it just means he can go for nice long walks, we can take him out in the woods now and it’s great. He’s just a normal dog and he is such a good boy!