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Amputation Gives Second Chance

Boundless energy and limitless curiosity, the traits that make puppies so much fun to watch and play with are the same traits that can often put young animals into harm’s way.

Wayne Brockberg’s 16-week old, black labrador retriever puppy named “Kitty” is no exception. Kitty loves to run and play and has been known to get into a little mischief on occasion.

Like many farm dogs, Kitty is an outdoor dog that sleeps in the garage. One morning when Wayne awoke and checked on Kitty, he found the puppy with a cord from a hanging trouble light wrapped around his front paw.

“The light was hanging up high, but he must have stood or jumped on his back legs and reached out with his front paws to get to it,” said Wayne.

Wayne cut the cord off Kitty’s leg and unwrapped it. There was only a small visible sore on Kitty’s leg where the cord had been wrapped around it, however the dog wouldn’t put any pressure on the leg, so Wayne brought Kitty to Pipestone Veterinary Services.

An exam confirmed that there wasn’t a fracture, but found that inflammation around the nerve was causing partial paralysis of the leg. Medication was prescribed to see if the nerve damage would repair itself.

When Wayne brought Kitty back for his one week recheck, Dr. Nicole Weber determined that the nerve damage had not repaired itself and the paralysis was causing further problems for the dog.

Amputation of the leg was recommended and surgery was scheduled.

“They told me that he would quickly forget he was supposed to have a fourth leg at all.”

“The surgery went as planned and Kitty did amazingly well,” said Wayne. “He was back to his old self the morning after the procedure –jumping and running around like any other black lab puppy.”

The only thing that slowed him down a little was the e-collar that was necessary to protect his sutures during healing,” said Dr. Nicole Weber.

A few weeks after surgery, Wayne is impressed with the five-month-old Kitty’s ability to run and do other normal activities on just three legs.

“It is important for pet owners to understand that an amputation doesn’t have to mean a loss of mobility or activity for their animal,” said Dr. Weber. “Kitty is just one example of the many animals who are doing amazing things after amputation and enjoying a full life with their families.”

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