Prosthetic legs are not just for humans.
A 2-year-old rottweiler named Brutus has become the second dog in the world to walk on four prosthetic limbs. He is being treated at Colorado State’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Puppy Brutus was just 14 months old when he was left outside in the freezing cold by his breeder in Canon City and got frostbite. After his breeder attempted an at-home amputation on the dog’s paws, Brutus was left even more harmed, with misaligned legs that made it hard for him to walk and participate in normal puppy activities.
Laura Aquilina, Brutus’ owner, fostered Brutus in June of 2014 and adopted him in early April. She started a fundraiser and raised about $12,500 to cover the costs of physical therapy and prosthetics for the young rottweiler.
Aquilina took Brutus to OrthoPets in Denver, the world’s largest veterinary orthotic and prosthetic company, where the pup was fitted for prosthetics.
Brutus’ prosthetics were made uniquely for him, in order to protect his limbs, support his collapsed legs and realign each leg to an equal length.
“The technology is still evolving as we speak to best suit a dog with Brutus’ very unique needs,” Aquilina said.
OrthoPets partnered with the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at CSU. Aquilina said that this was the best choice for Brutus’ rehabilitation.
Sasha Foster, a certified canine rehabilitation therapist at CSU, is the driving force behind Brutus’ physical therapy treatment.
“We’re working with Brutus to help him adjust to wearing his new prosthetics,” Foster said in a Source article. “He’s learning how to move with them on. Once he’s mastered that, we will help him achieve higher-level functioning activities, like hiking and playing with other dogs.”
Felix Duerr, an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, practices small animal orthopedics and sports medicine at the University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital and collaborated with Foster on creating a physical therapy plan for Brutus.
According to Duerr, physical therapy for Brutus will be ongoing, maybe even for the rest of his life.
“To be honest, you never really stop,” Duerr said. “It’s a continuous work in progress.”
Though therapy will be part of his life for the foreseeable future, Brutus has the personality to take it in stride.
“He’s super sweet and affectionate, and a total ham,” Aquilina said. “With his personality, he takes (physical therapy) really well.”
According to Aquilina, the collaboration between a physical therapist, a prosthetician and orthopedic vet to develop the best outcome for Brutus is a unique experience.
“Aside from the awesome care he is receiving from veterinary professionals, it’s also been an amazing journey to witness a community of hundreds of people band together in order to financially, behaviorally and emotionally support an animal that otherwise would have had a poor chance of having an long, active and healthy life,” Aquilina said.
Collegian Reporter Zara DeGroot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @zar_degroot.