Luck, Language and what a difference a leg makes…..
Camilla is a Dachshund from Turriaco, near Venice in NE Italy. She was less than 18 months old when she was involved in an accident which damaged both hind legs. Fortunately her Veterinarian was able to save her left leg, but sadly her right leg was beyond salvage and had to be amputated. However, luckily for Camilla, her Veterinarian had the forethought to amputate at the tarso-metatarsal joint in the hope that a prosthesis might be found, rather than perform a full amputation as is the norm.Camilla’s owner, Elisa Calligaris, came across OrthoPets Europe whilst searching on the internet for dog prosthetics and immediately emailed us an enquiry. Luck was again on Camilla’s side, we received the enquiry when we were in Italy, spending a few days R&R on Lake Como, en route to the ESVOT (European Society of Veterinary Orthopaedics and Traumatology) conference in Bologna.After the exchange of a few emails it turned out that Camilla’s Veterinarian, Dr. Giulio Lenarduzzi was attending the same conference, so we could meet up to discuss Camilla’s case. Through strained use of my Italian and Dr. Lenarduzzi’s English, we quickly established that Camilla was a viable candidate for a prosthesis and things were set into motion.On return to England a casting kit was quickly sent to Dr. Lenarduzzi and after several Anglo/Italiano emails were exchanged clarifying just as many language related issues as casting questions, a cast was finally received. Unfortunately the cast was not usable, again in part due to language misunderstandings and in part due to the size of Camilla’s residual limb. More casting tape and more cast molds finally resulted in success and Elisa received Camilla’s Stage I prosthesis mid November 2012.Over the next 4-5 weeks, we received almost daily emails and videos from a disconsolate Elisa. “Camilla doesn’t like her new leg”, “Camilla isn’t using her new leg”, “Camilla is walking funny with her new leg”…………..After bucket loads of reassurance, advice and sympathy – most with an ever increasing Italian lilt in my voice, I finally got THE email “Ciao Rod, you were right... it takes time.... what is really amazing is to see Camilla changing her "shape".... because she is now using both of her hind limbs.... and so she seems to be in "balance" again – THANK YOU!!! The attached video confirmed that Camilla and Elisa had encountered that Eureka moment! The Stage I review followed quite soon after and we were making great progress until……….Elisa received Camilla’s Stage II device and the daily emails and videos started to arrive again. “Camilla doesn’t like her new leg”, “Camilla isn’t……..”, “Camilla is…………”.This time we knew how to handle Elisa and support her through the time it was obviously going to take until Camilla got her head around using her ’new’ leg. All has worked out well, as we knew it would. Camilla is happy running around in the countryside, yes ‘running’ around with her prosthesis and of course Elisa is now happy…and relaxed! Dr Lendaduzzi, well he is most impressed, not only with OrthoPets, but with our extreme patience!