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Extreme and unusual therapies to save pets

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Evonne Barry | From: Sunday Herald | Sun November 16, 2008


KRAMER the kelpie cross has managed with three legs for most of his eight years.

But for the past two months, he has been relying on only two.

Kramer tore the tendon muscle from his only front leg, forcing him to hobble on his "elbow".

But an amputation " or worse " was never an option for owner Scott Sloane.

"I know a lot of people wouldn"t be bothered (getting him fixed), they would just get another dog," said Mr Sloane, from Bright.

"But I don"t want another dog. I want Kramer."

Enter Dr Preston.

Mr Sloane"s local vet referred Kramer to the Mt Waverley specialist last month and initially the prognosis was grim.

"Fusing Kramer"s elbow looked like the only option and I didn"t want that to happen," Mr Sloane said.

But investigative surgery revealed a much more positive " and extremely unusual " way forward.

Discovering the tendon could be reattached to the bone, Dr Preston then fitted a custom-built frame to Kramer"s only front limb.

"It was a great revelation that the muscle was OK," Dr Preston said.

"But we still needed a way of immobilising his leg while it healed. It"s not as simple as telling a human not to move."

Dr Preston has fitted similar frames on "a couple of cats and dogs" " but never before to a three-legged animal.

"It"s definitely a first," he said.

So far, the experiment seems to be working for Kramer.

He"s worn the frame for a fortnight and it is due to come off next week.

"He is sore, there"s no doubt about that, but he"s healing like a rocket," Dr Preston said.

Mr Sloane, who has spent more than $4000 saving Kramer"s leg, said his beloved dog was worth every cent.

"It"s my quality of life, as well as his quality of life. Kramer adds a lot to my life," he said.

Mr Sloane is looking forward to Kramer getting back to full health.

"He loves chasing rabbits and he"s a real people dog," he said.

"He loves attention, which he gets because of his three legs."

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Preoperative Video

Temporary Circular Fixation Frame

Postoperative Video