My dog lost a (front) leg, what now?

My dog lost a (front) leg, what now?

Lately I have been getting a lot of requests from owners to make a prosthesis (or artificial leg) for their dog with a front leg amputation. Usually the dog suffers from overload of one of the other three legs at a later age. Especially with a front leg amputation there will be a lot of load on the remaining front leg. Normally the dog already carries 60% of its weight on the two front legs. In the absence of one of these, a lot of weight will therefore end up on that one front leg.

Making a prosthesis is (almost) always possible. But there are many conditions for using and wearing the prosthesis.

Below are a few conditions at a glance. These are not only important for wearing but also for the (active) use of a foreleg prosthesis.


1. The stump length or amputation level

The first condition is that sufficient length remains from the amputated leg. The length is going to determine the leverage. The dog needs this leverage to smoothly bring the paw forward.

The ideal length is about half the foreleg, so half the tibia and radius.


2. The condition of the tip of the stump

Because we are going to load the stub end, it must be in very good condition. This means free of bony prominences and scarring, minimizing the risk of wounds at the end of the stump as much as possible.


3. Cross section of the stump shape

The cross section of the stump shape will determine whether or not the prosthesis will rotate around the leg. So the rounder the cross-section, the more difficult it is to keep the prosthesis stable.


4. Hanging options or mounting options

With a prosthesis that is worn by a person, we can hang it with a vacuum system. We can create a vacuum between the human skin and the prosthetic socket. Your dog has fur that prevents the vacuum system from working. There is always air between the prosthetic socket and the dog's skin. So we have to look for another suspension. The elbow can be used for this. Sometimes an additional suspension with a harness is necessary to prevent sagging during active periods.


5. Your dog

Your dog's character will also play an important role. How sensitive is your dog to changes? Does your dog react irritably or does he accept it without any problems? Keep in mind that a prosthesis is a big change in your dog's life and every dog reacts differently to it.


6. You

How easily can you teach your dog something new? Can you 'explain' your dog how to use the prosthesis? Of course, Pro4Paws will assist you optimally here. But the 'training work' will have to be done entirely by you and your dog. A physiotherapist can guide you through this process. A physiotherapist can teach your dog to put full load on the prosthesis while walking, but also during play times.


The use of a prosthesis always gives your dog a better weight distribution during walking and standing. But with some amputations it is impossible to use a prosthesis because your dog does not meet one of the above conditions.

And what you should certainly not forget is hygiene. Dirt that is in the fur or has stuck in the denture quickly creates extra friction. The extra friction causes wounds more quickly. Think of the stone in your shoe, when you feel that this is there, the stone must be removed as quickly as possible. But how is your dog going to make that clear to you?

Do you want your dog to be able to distribute the load better? Then you can also opt for a front wheel wheelchair . For example, the wheels at the front will bear the most weight of the dog and the remaining front leg is no longer overloaded.



Photo: © Morten Prom .


"Today I was at a very fine riding center shooting horses. Buba is a real stable dog, he was stepped on by a horse when he was little. They had to amputate the lower part of his his right front leg :( But his is still one happy Jaack Russel. I caught him looking after his master."




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