They almost never got the chance to find love, but no bones about it, Carbon, Krypton, and Cobalt are three of the sweetest pups you’ll ever meet.
When these three were rescued in Georgia, their foster family despaired what their outcome would be. All three of them had the strangest thing going on with their front legs. All they could do was hope they would grow out of it.
When they reached 7 weeks old, they still couldn’t walk, sit, or run normally. They couldn’t even stand up straight, and walked around on their elbows. It was apparent to Margie (our GA rescue partner and an amazing woman who runs Old Fella Burke County Pet Rescue) that it was time for a visit to the vet.
X-rays immediately revealed what was wrong – they were born without carpal bones in their front legs. The carpal bones comprise the upper part of the foot in dogs and are comparable to the wrist in people. As you can probably guess, without these bones, their front legs could not hold them up.
Margie despaired what the outcome would be. So many “normal” dogs never get the chance to find homes in Burke County Georgia. How were they going to find homes for puppies like these? Margie would soon have to make one of the most difficult decisions any rescuer has to make. Without a chance for a normal life with an adoptive family, these energetic and happy puppies might have to be euthanized.
Margie shared her story with Jane, NEAS’ canine intake coordinator. Old Fella sends hundreds of wonderful dogs to NEAS, so Margie and Jane talk on an almost daily basis. When Margie mentioned the tough decision she was going to have to make about Carbon, Krypton, and Cobalt, Jane asked her to wait. She knew NEAS would want to consider all possibilities before running out of choices.
Jane got a veterinarian specialist involved, but the vet wanted to examine the puppies before giving us false hope. Jane asked Margie to send the “Bones Bunch” to NEAS on the next trip. They have now arrived, and the vet says surgery will likely help.
The surgery is called pancarpal arthrodesis, a surgery to fuse the joint. During the operation, the cartilage surrounding the carpal/metacarpal bones will be stripped. Then bone foam and grafts are applied to help the body fill in more bone tissue to seal the joint. A metal plate and screws are attached to the other bones, and these must be placed in a specific manner to make sure that the bones are held rigidly in place as they heal. Any movement during the recovery process could cause bony calluses or delay healing.
Each puppy will require two operations. One leg will be allowed to heal before operating on the other leg. These pups have a long journey ahead of them, but the vet is optimistic that when everything is healed, they will be able to walk. Their front legs will likely by a bit shorter than normal, and their ankles won’t flex so they will have a peculiar gait, but these happy puppies love life so much that we expect they won’t let frozen ankles get in their way. It certainly beats walking on elbows!
As you might expect, 6 surgeries (2 for each puppy) is going to be expensive. The surgery will be done at a specialized veterinary hospital, and will cost $20,000.
Will you help Carbon, Crypton, and Cobalt stand tall?
Surgery has been scheduled for two of the pups for next week. They will fuse one leg and wear a splint on the other during the first recovery. In 4-6 weeks, their second surgery will be scheduled. For the third pup, because some damage has already happened in his bone structure, he’ll need a follow up x-ray next week to determine when he’ll be ready for surgery.