Three legged pets, affectionately know as tripods in veterinary world, do very well post surgery. However, it is not always necessary for the vet to remove all of an affected limb. This raises the possibility of a prosthesis. Craig Road Animal Hospital’s own Dr. Jacqueline Parker discusses, and shows, how we go about fitting a dog for a prosthetic limb here in North West Las Vegas! 

Dr. Jacqueline Parker

Earl lost his front left paw in France a few years ago to a bear trap that crushed his foot.

Earl’s owners asked me to look into some options for him because, although he was getting around on three legs, he was developing pressure wounds on partially amputated leg from using it to much. He as also getting older and developing arthritis, making it more difficult from him to have an active life.


Denver based Orthopets seemed to have the perfect solution: a bio-mechanically correct prosthetic specifically designed for pets.  After discussing the procedure with Earl’s owners, we decided to go ahead with the process.

The first stage was to make a cast of the stump of Earl’s left front leg and take a number of measurements. This is a challenge, because we need Earl awake to get the correct measurements and posture for the cast.

Step one was to wrap Earl’s leg in Saran Wrap to stop his fur sticking to the cast.

Dr. Parker starts the wrapping process

Earl is not too sure about this…

Next, we attach a plastic guide to the Saran Wrap which will protect Earl’s skin when we cut the cast off.

Dr. Parker fits the safety guide that allows the cast to be cut off.

Earl is ready for his cast.

It is then time for the fiberglass cast molding to be applied tightly to the leg to ensure appropriate sizing of his prothesis.

Applying the cast.

The cast sets minutes, and then it is time to cut it off using a very sharp hooked knife and a lot of brute strength.

Cutting off the cast.

And there is Earl’s cast. This gives Orthopets the information they need to make a prosthesis that will fit Earl comfortably, with some minor adjustments without him ever having to leave Las Vegas.

the final cast

Next time: Fitting Earl with his prosthesis!