Bootzilla, our Pit Bull, has been diagnosed with canine Osteosarcoma (bone cancer in dogs). The first step in her treatment was to immediately have her affected leg amputated. The next step is her immunotherapy with her own personal Autologous Tumor Vaccine.
The final step to help her enjoy a long life, is to create a prosthetic leg for her to help her out when she’s hiking and going on long walks.
In August, 2020, our 11 year old Superstar Frisbee Freestyle Champion Pit Bull, BOOTZILLA, was limping for a few days.
The first vet we visited said it was likely a strain, so just give her a couple weeks of kennel rest. A few days later she was not any better so we took her to a second vet, who did an x-ray, and saw a suspicious spot on her upper front leg bone. They suggested we immediately take her to CSU Veterinary Hospital, one of the top vet schools in the U.S. (it’s in our hometown in Colorado), so we did.
CSU Veterinary Hospital – Oncology
At CSU Emergency, they diagnosed her with Osteosarcoma, and recommended leg amputation – immediately. However, their next opening for an appointment with their Oncology department wasn’t for another month!
Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center is one of the top canine cancer centers in the U.S., but because Osteosarcoma progresses VERY fast, we weren’t willing to wait.
Veterinary Specialty Center in Illinois
We researched coast to coast, and found a top vet clinic in Chicago who was offering an immunotherapy clinical trial to treat Osteosarcoma, so we signed her up and she had her first appointment a few days later. They amputated her leg the same day. (We’ll have another blog post specifically about Bootzilla’s vaccine and T-cell treatment).
Now she’s recovered from the surgery, and we’re ready to start working on a prothetic leg to help her mobility.
Step 1: Create a body mold
In order to secure Bootzilla’s prosthetic leg to her body, she’ll need a custom fitted vest to wear. Our great friend, Charlie, has equipment for making custom molds, supports, and 3D printers, so he offered to design her prosthetic leg system. Charlie owns Artisan Dice in Texas.
All it takes is a little cling wrap or stretch wrap film and some duct tape!
He’ll use a molding technique to create a custom fitted vest-type harness that will support the different types of prosthetic leg attachments.
Charlie will be sharing the next steps in the process as they are completed. His We can’t wait to see what he designs for her!