Nala was rescued from Peru last year, arrived to NYC in July and then had a complete left forelimb amputation in August. Since the surgery, her wrist deformity has worsened and she has had increasing difficulty using that leg. This is particularly problematic because she is a young girl of only one year and loves to play and attend the dog park!
On orthopedic examination at UPENN, Nala presented with lameness in the leg, as well as swelling of the carpal joint. Her right elbow was painful on pressure and docs feared a possible incongruity of the bones. After a sedated CT scan, a clear right limb deformity showed which is suspected to be due to premature or asymmetric closure of the growth plate. Fragmentation of the bone was also noted and this can lead to wearing of the cartilage. Down the road this can cause progressive osteoarthritis, inflammation and pain.
What makes the entire scenario worse is that due to her previous amputation she exhibits gait change and subsequent weight shifting. In essence, her ALD (ANGULAR LIMB DEFORMITY) is a result of trauma suffered to the growth plate that has healed as a malunion or occurred as a result of a crushing injury to the growth plate.
The primary concern for Nala's deformity is it will likely result in excessive strain on the adjacent joints (the wrist), causing arthritis, pain, and impaired limb use. This impact is increased because Nala already has an amputation of the other limb so she is unable to compensate. The goal of surgical correction of her deformity would be to improve the alignment of her leg in an attempt to restore more normal loading of the wrist. It is also to help avoid future issues such as arthritis and impaired mobility.
Although elbow dysplasia cannot be cured, it can sometimes be managed with surgery. The outcome of elbow dysplasia will vary between dogs. While it is difficult to predict outcome, this could ultimately become a quality of life limiting factor for Nala moving forward, following surgery and exhaustion of medical management in the future. However, the doctors are hopeful that surgery will prolong Nala's disease course and at this time it is her best option for a future that will provide her with the ability to still be active and a high quality of life. We can’t allow this deformity to worsen to the point that she can no longer use the leg and then become immobile. We are going to give her the best option to either correct or extensively prolong the negative ramifications of her condition.
The estimate for Nala's multiple corrective surgeries ranges between $7000-$10000.We ask that if you can spare any amount, your contribution will help the sweetest pup in town.