Belle, a pet miniature horse from Canada, is recovering from her major prosthetic surgery.
She now has a titanium post in her left hind leg to replace the missing hoof and 20 percent of her leg that had to be amputated after a small animal attacked and ripped her hind legs down to the tendons. Belle seemed to recover, but eventually the circulation was cut off to her left hoof, and it had to be amputated.
Belle is the only horse in the world to have this type of prosthetic post implanted in a leg, and only the sixth animal in North America. After her leg heals, she will be fitted with a hoof at the end of the post, so Belle can go back to running and jumping as she did before.
Belle’s veterinarian, Nick Shaw, contacted BioMedtrix, a company that manufactures veterinary orthopedic products and is pioneering a new process of dealing with prosthetics.
The procedure that was done on Belle used a thin tube of titanium and tantalum, which was implanted directly into the bone in the limb. A portion of the implant extended beyond the end of the limb.
Because tantalum is porous, skin and bone can grow right through it. This anchors the tube of titanium and tantalum right into the bone. The hoof facsimile can then be slipped on the piece of metal extending from the limb. Since the hoof is away from the skin, there will be no chafing or blister problems.
Both the veterinarian and BioMedtrix donated their services for Belle’s surgery.
This procedure has been done only five times in the US, on three dogs, a cat, and a Russian breeding crane.
It will take about six to eight weeks to know if Belle’s leg will heal properly.
But her family is sure that she will soon be able to visit hospitals and schools just like she did before her injury.
“We want her back out in the community again as a role model, to show that if you work hard and get the right support, you can do anything,” they said.