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Betsy’s amputation prosthesis

Delightful nine-month-old Cockapoo Betsy has become one of the family, but an accident left her with multiple injuries, and the family wanted to explore their options to save Betsy’s injured paw.

Betsy, a gorgeous black cockapoo, was only 6 months old when she sustained multiple injuries after being hit by a van. The incident left Betsy with multiple spinal fractures, which thankfully did not damage the spinal cord itself, but there was significant damage to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves that carries signals to the front leg. This resulted in Betsy dragging her right front leg, leaving her hopping about on her three remaining legs.

Eventually, the bottom part of her leg became gangrenous, which left little option for Betsy but to have the bottom part of her leg and paw amputated. Sophie and Dan came to Fitzpatrick Referrals with the hope of understanding their options for their young companion, and to see if it was possible to salvage her limb.

A solution for Betsy

After discussing the options for Betsy, the family opted for her to be the beneficiary of a unique and special implant called a PerFiTS (Percutaneous Fixation To the Skeleton). This is a skeletally anchored limb amputation prosthesis (SALAP) consistsing of an endoprosthesis that attaches to the bone with plates and screws and has a ‘dermal integration module’ of metal mesh for the skin to stick to and a spigot protruding out, onto which an external foot or exoprosthesis can be attached. The aim is for the endoprosthesis to bond to the bone and skin permanently.  

We really wanted to give her the chance to be as normal as possible


 With the help of our colleagues at Fitzbionics, we have developed this implant system over the last decade and have helped dozens of patients to live functional and full lives. We are the only centre in the world currently able to offer this particular technology.

The surgery

The outcome

Betsy has thrived on her bionic foot. At first, we tried an aluminium blade and a foot made from the rubber of a bicycle tyre, but Betsy was so active she kept wearing it out. So we designed and made a new foot for her out of a skateboard wheel, and Betsy has helped develop this wonderful implant for future generations.

Betsy running around on four legs

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Fitzpatrick Referrals is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of orthopaedic and neurological diseases in small animals.