Dog facing terminal cancer receives special brace

Device designed by local company

KENDALL, Fla. – It came without warning.  Jessica Pierson's seemingly healthy dog was suddenly very sick.

"We were out in a field running with the dogs and all of a sudden he screamed bloody murder and laid down and I couldn't get him to move," Pierson said.

The 9 year old lab mix named Turner was diagnosed with inoperable bone cancer.

Pierson and her veterinarian wanted to make Turner as comfortable as possible in his final days.i

"What we had to do is stabilize the bone in order for Turner to lead a normal, happy life," said veterinarian Dr. Ian Kupkee with the Sabal Chase Animal Clinic.

But stabilizing the bone with casts became a costly and difficult ordeal.

"It was $150 every ten days.  On top of that, he had to undergo anesthesia to remove and replace the cast, which was hard on him," said Pierson.

"Another problem was that even with the cast on, he wasn't putting weight on the affected leg, so he was suffering to some extent,' said Kupkee.

Kupkee mentioned his predicament to another client, Richard Hughes, who works for a South Florida company that designs prosthetic braces.

"I started thinking 'Why couldn't we do tis on a dog?', and he took the idea and ran with it," said Kupkee.

With the aid of imaging tools, Hughes created a removable brace specifically designed for Turner's needs.

"It give hi protection. It allows for the weight to bypass either side of the tumor and gives him a little better quality of life," said Hughes.

The brace can be removed and the leg cleaned at a fraction of the cost of changing a cast and Turner is now walking on his leg without pain.

"It's been so much easier on him and me," said Pierson.

Though Turner was only given a few weeks to live, he's survived several months, which Pierson credits to the brace.

"He's happy, I'm happy.  I'm just glad to have as much time as I can with him," she said.

To reach Sabal Chase Veterinary Clinic call: 305-595-1459.