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Circular external fixator to lengthen a dog´s leg
This uncommon surgery was performed as a cooperation of veterinary and human researchers at the University of Florida, Gainesville: They united to develop components for applying the human technology of circular external fixators to animals.

The University of Florida`s (UF) College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas Scottish Rites Hospital for Children and IMEX Veterinary Inc. swapped notes in effort to perfect the use of the technology for animals.

Veterinary surgeons have applied their knowledge to help approximately 10 canines a month, with the first animal benefiting from the device in 1996, says Dr. Dan Lewis, professor of small animal surgery.

`Veterinarians are always referring clients to see us with their pets` fractures and limb abnormalities because our surgeons have worked with this technology and accomplished a lot,` says Sarah Carey, UF public relations.

The Ilizarov fixator, a type of circular external fixator, was used to repair an Akita`s leg that had been deformed when the animal was attacked by another dog. One of the Akita`s front legs had already been amputated and the other limb was not growing properly. The procedure altered the animal`s gate and reduced stress on it`s back and legs.

`The limb UF surgeons repaired had not grown to the length of the rear legs, and when the dog walked it was much lower in the front,` Carey adds.

The dog`s leg was lengthened 30 percent officials say, simultaneously derotating and straightening it.

The technology is being used at the University to correct fractured limbs, joint fusions and correct limb deformities in companion animals.

The university`s surgeons have used the device many times and have become the authority on the procedure, according to Carey. The university works closely with IMEX Veterinary Inc and the research unit at Texas Scottish Rites Hospital for Children to develop components for applying the human technology to animals.



Source: Circular external fixator lengthens Akita`s leg. In: DVM Newsmagazine Apr 14, 2005; www.dvmnewsmagazine.com/dvm/



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