“Ewan came into our lives as a foster dog when he was about two years old. He had a history of running loose and his owners eventually turned him over to a central Illinois animal control facility. His easy going, non-confrontational personality allowed him to fit right into our pack. His antics make me smile – pointing butterflies, hunting toads and humping the dog bed every time I run the vacuum. He is always ready to go, always ready to play, but never passes up an opportunity to snuggle under the covers. A kind-hearted soul with a little bit of an endearing daredevil side. He won me over. There was no way I could part with him. We adopted him, making him a permanent member of the family.
In May 2016, Ewan began to limp on his right hind leg. I noticed a considerable swelling between his pads. At first I thought perhaps he had a foreign body in his foot, but radiographs showed that it was a mass. A biopsy determined it to be a very aggressive spindle cell sarcoma. Cancer. Unfortunately, removing only the mass was not an option,
as it was in the center of his foot. It was ugly, angry, and painful. I had no choice but to consider amputation.
The usual and recommended procedure is to amputate the entire leg. In Ewan’s case, I felt this was extreme. The problem was with his foot. The rest of his leg was perfectly fine. Knowing that prosthetics are available for dogs, I consulted with Dr. Rosemary LoGiudice and Dr. Arlene Rodriguez at Integrative Pet Care Hanover Park (IPCHP) to see if that would be an option for Ewan. They both gave a rousing endorsement for pursuing a limb-sparing amputation (removing only the foot) and getting fit for a prosthesis. Having use of four legs will help reduce future strain on his back, hips, and knees as he ages. Dr. Lisa Starr, also with Integrative Pet Care Hanover Park, became my liaison between Orthopets, the manufacturer of animal assistive devices, and our surgeon Dr. Abel at VCA Aurora. It was important that the surgery be performed in such a way that would give the prosthesis a successful fit. Dr. Starr and Dr. Abel were very dedicated to Ewan’s case and did an incredible job collaborating prior to and during the surgery.
Three weeks after the surgery, Ewan met with Dr. Starr and Katie at IPCHP for measurements, photographs, video, and a casting of Ewan’s leg. All of this information was sent to Orthopets. Two weeks later, our custom prosthetic device arrived. We met with Dr. Starr again to assure we had a good fit. Ewan took to it right away! He was putting it down and wanting to take a few steps on it within minutes. Days later, he was back to going for walks. Ewan gets regular massages to keep him flexible and comfortable. He also does a variety of exercises that assist in teaching him how to properly use his new leg.
I’ve been thrilled with my decision to preserve Ewan’s leg. The prosthesis has given Ewan the freedom to enjoy life as he always has. I don’t know if I would have had the courage to make this decision if it weren’t for crew at Integrative Pet Care Hanover Park. I am very grateful for their constant support and encouragement throughout this process.”
– Allison Brudney
“Ewan and Allison are an inspiring team to work with! Ewan has adjusted to walking in his prosthetic very quickly, despite some initial medical setbacks. Allison has been extremely diligent with his home exercises, helping him to learn how to use the prosthetic and improve his gait with it. She keeps a close eye on his skin to ensure that no sores are developing from wearing his device. Through both of their hard work, Ewan’s mobility and quality of life have benefited. Having more normal biomechanics walking with the prosthetic, instead of walking on three legs, lessens stress to the rest of Ewan’s body and in turn is helping to keep him more active and comfortable for the long term. They are great example of the results that can be achieved with having a motivated dog and a dedicated and involved owner! We are so honored to have the opportunity to provide Ewan with his prosthetic and to be a part of their team! Keep up the good work guys!”
– Lisa Starr, DVM, CVA, CCRA, CVSMT
“Ewan has a great spirt and drive and has been easy going through this entire process. He has been a joy to work with and I am thrilled with his progress.”
– Arlene Rodriguez DVM, CCRT
“He is such a strong willed pup and not letting health problems keep him from trotting around. He looks great in his new prosthetic! And is getting around wonderfully. I’m so glad he is doing well with his new magic shoe and is not letting anything hold him back. Love working with him. ”
– Katie Sulzmann CVMRT, ATC
Make a difference!
Each month we ask the POTM to choose an organization that they would like promoted during their month. Ewan has chosen the Bialy’s Wellness Foundation. BWF helps provide necessary supplies and medical care for pets with chronic mobility related conditions. Check out their website for more info on what they are about and how you can help! www.bialyswellnessfoundation.org