Bella is the perfect example of the resiliency of this breed! Bella had orthopedic surgery on her left leg when she was just 16 weeks old after her hind legs were run over by a truck. She sustained a comminuted fracture to her left femur, dislocated left femur, and right pelvis fractures. Surgery was performed in hopes of saving the left leg rather than an amputation and the right hip was not healthy enough to support all her weight.
APW rescued her shortly after her surgery knowing that she had a long recovery ahead of her. Because she is still so young and growing her long term prognosis is still uncertain but we’re doing everything we can to help give her the best chance!
First, we decided to change her name from Ella to Bella. We wanted to reflect the “beautiful” new life she is going to live after becoming an APW Rescue.
Second, we found an AMAZING foster home who took her into their home knowing she was a special needs case. With their patience and love they were able to accommodate her needs and are without a doubt a HUGE reason for the strides that she has made.
Third, we assembled an awesome medical team to help us make decisions and love her sweet silly soul as much as we do! We partnered up with the Veterinarians and Vet Techs at the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Oregon State University that has been working with us to come up with the best plan of care and treatments to avoid surgery
While Ella is making great progress in her recovery, she still has a long way to go and more treatments on her journey. Scroll down to see how you can donate to help with Ella's treatments.
Click on a treatment below to donate funds to Ella's recovery.
Here is a little summary of what caring for Bella has been like:
"Bella is quite a handful. She's definitely come out of her shell in the last several months. When we first got her, she had balance issues because she didn't use her left leg and the right leg was really weak. We used a harness with a handle on it and we walked her slow enough that she was forced into using the left leg. It was so stiff though that she would walk on tiptoes on the right leg to accommodate the lack of movement. When things got tough for her, we would pull up on the handle to take the weight off of her legs. She could generally play or move around for about 30 minutes, then she would fall asleep for an hour or two. She was very weak.
We couldn't get her into the OSU Vet hospital for a month so we hired an animal physical therapist who does myofascial release. She came in twice a week for a couple of weeks then went once a week. Once we got Bella into the OSU Physical Therapy program, we cut the home physical therapy down to twice a month. They spend 45 minutes to an hour with her each time, breaking it up into exercises in the water tank treadmill and ultrasound to break up the frozen tissue in her thigh. The PT initially said she carried about 80% of her weight on her front legs and we need to get it to where she is using the back legs more. She is definitely doing that, and the hunch she had in her back from guarding her hips is gone!
Our goal is to put off a replacement of her left hip for as long as possible. She has a significant amount of arthritis in her hip from her injury so a replacement is going to be tough on her. If she has a hip replacement, which is pretty certain according to the OSU Orthopedist, she will need that “bad” left leg more than ever so we want to help her recover as much range of motion as possible. She goes to OSU PT twice a week now and will continue that for the foreseeable future. To help her recovery, I provide her with daily supplements that include a supplement for joint support that contains turmeric, glucosamine, hemp; CBD oil for inflammation and joint support; Omega-3 oil for inflammation. I also give her a dose of carprofen in the evenings so she sleeps easily.
We have been working with both PTs to modify an off-the-shelf leg brace. We don't want to spend the $1000+ for a custom brace until she's full grown. I am working to design one that supports the weakness in her ankle. She hyper-extends it and rolls it over onto the top of her foot as well as dragging her foot. I found some heat-moldable plastic that I cut down to a 4' x 1" rectangle then shaped to create a semi-flexible curve. I sewed pockets into a brace I bought then slipped the plastic in. It makes it tougher for her to roll the foot and it seems to be helping get a little more bend in that ankle. She's using the leg pretty consistently now, and not rolling over onto the top of the foot so often when she pees.
Bella is quite active and has gone on walks or walk/jogs up to three miles. She has put on a lot of muscle and has become much more energetic - and rascally. She now uses the leg all of the time unless she gets running too fast or gets too excited by another dog or a bird or a person or a leaf or a sprinkler... Instead of needing support from a harness, she now pulls really hard and it is tough to keep her down to a reasonable pace. The world has a lot of exciting things and she wants to get into all of them. She is very seldom kenneled so she has lots of opportunities to work off her energy.
She was very anxious when she first came to our house. It manifested as uncontrolled barking, urination issues, and occasional growling when you tried to move her when she was sleeping. The urination and growling are gone, but she still occasionally goes into a bark fest. We have had her to some private training and she is getting ready to start in a group obedience class. She loves to engage with the neighbor kids and is quite gentle and loving. She tends to be a toy thief though, and likes to steal toys from our other dog. They play a lot and seem like good buddies.