Same old Dutch, new front paw

A Mission cane corse is the first dog in B.C. to get a prosthetic limb

Lance Maus and his cane corso



Impossible.

That was the first thought flitting through Lance Maus’ mind when the phone call came through in November.

My dog is in the back yard. You must be mistaken.

But the caller wasn’t.

Maus’ cane corso Dutch had chewed and barged his way through the cedar-panel fence and had been hit by a car on 14 Avenue, badly injuring his front right leg.

Maus raced down to Mission Veterinary Hospital (MVH) and found his six-year-old, 130 pound purebred had a compound fracture — which is when the bone extrudes through the flesh — of the ulna and radial bones, and was faced with a possible full amputation.

One problem: It was very expensive.

But MVH’s Dr. Susan Calverley had another option for Dutch: a prosthetic.

Calverley donated her surgical skill and time, while Maus covered the cost of the prosthesis. She has been working with manufacturer Orthopets, based in Denver, CO, since December, and called the company one of the “pioneers in orthotics.”

Aside from being a lovable dog, Dutch now also bears a unique distinction: He is the first dog in British Columbia to be outfitted with a prosthetic, and according to Calverley, could be the first in Canada.

“Prosthetics in limbs are relatively a new thing” in the veterinary world, she explained.

“It has to be something the dog won’t eat, or that won’t rub off their fur.”

The location of the break — just above the wrist — was fortunate, as that gave Dutch the best possible chance that he would continue to live a normal life.

A full amputation would have severely hampered Dutch in later years, said Calverley, as 60 per cent of a dog’s weight comes down on the front paws. Lose a limb, and that full weight must now be borne on the remaining leg, which leads to a host of other issues, including arthritis.

“[The prosthetic] saves the joints on the other limbs,” she said.

Dutch has happily taken to his new appendage, said Calverley and his owner, Maus.

“Dutch gets excited when Lance reaches for the prosthetic,” she said.

Maus had high praise for the team at the hospital, and said Dutch continues to be a happy dog.

“He’s the same as before, just without a paw,” Maus noted.