cassidyLast July I told you about Cassidy, a male German Shepherd mix that was born with a deformed hind leg.  In 2005 Cassidy’s owner, Steve Posovsky, was referred to NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine to have the deformed leg amputated. Last July he was back for a groundbreaking prosthetic implant procedure.

Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little, associate professor of orthopedics, and Dr. Ola Harrysson, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering, are pioneers in the area of osseointegration, a process that fuses a prosthetic limb with an animal’s (or human’s) bones. The result is a custom-designed, limb-sparing prosthesis that behaves more like a natural limb – and a technique with implications for the future of human prosthetics.

Since last July, Cassidy has been back to the hospital several times to make sure the implant to fusing with the bone and on Tuesday, Cassidy got his leg. Well, he was fitted with a titanium leg complete with a running foot to replace the temporary peg leg he had been sporting.

Doctors say the new titanium prosthesis and its padded “foot,” is designed to be more lifelike than typical artificial limbs, allowing Cassidy’s leg to bend naturally. A carbon fuse inside the prosthesis allows for rotation of the leg and guards against undue stress on the implant. After a few trips down the hall at the Veterinary Hospital, Cassidy’s gait was almost normal, which pleased doctors.

Harrysson said the technology is moving in the right direction for eventual use in humans but cautioned that it will take several years and more animal models like Cassidy to get it right. (Wake

Posovsky said that Cassidy gets a lot of attention with his artificial limb and is doing wonderful with it but what is really wonderful is that Cassidy has a new four-legged leash on life and his success is one step in the direction of opening this wonderful technology to people.

Go Cassidy!! 😀

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