Pooch Gets Prosthetic Paw

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Thursday, January 27, 2011 - 2:55pm

"Peg-Leg Polo" thrives with new artificial paw.

A new procedure once reserved for people is now available for your pet.

For the the Swift family of Nashville, Tennessee it began with one of those family nightmares: Friends were over for Christmas, and one friend accidentally ran over their dog.

The family was faced with grim decisions.

There were three options for Polo, the 9-year-old Siberian husky: amputate the leg and become a three-legged dog, commit to multiple surgeries -- a minimum $5,000 bill and no guarantee of success -- or something relatively new: a fake paw, a dog prosthetic.

Small-animal surgeon Trey Calfee of Nashville Vet Specialists fit Polo with a custom prosthetic paw.

He will use a temporary prosthetic for several months, then the vets will study the wear and recast for a perfect fit.

The prosthetic cost $995, about 1/3 of the cost of surgery.

Polo is a big dog, and while the Swifts waited for the prosthetic, they got a glimpse of what his life would be with three legs.

They said he fell over a lot.

Now that's over: They said he uses his prosthetic like a real paw.

Polo rests a lot and tires out more easily, they said, but the new paw has brought him much closer to the dog he used to be.
 

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