A broken leg is a Tripawd parent’s worst nightmare. But Spree is proof that a full recovery and a great quality of life afterward is entirely possible. We recently caught up with this life-long Tripawd to find out how she did it.
From a Puppy Tripawd to Grown Up Queen Bee, Spree Bounces Back Again
Spree was just 1.5 years old when we met her in 2010 at Canine Health Resort in Fort Collins, Colorado. This adorable puppy was born with a poorly formed front leg and became a Tripawd at 15 weeks old. Shortly after that, she underwent a bi-lateral femoral head ostectomy (FHO) surgery on both hips. The young dog went through a lot during her first two years but thanks to excellent ongoing canine rehabilitation therapy, Spree enjoys an excellent quality of life.
She rules the pack at Canine Health Resort, where dogs of all ages and abilities come to recuperate after major surgery at nearby Colorado State University’s veterinary teaching hospital. “She’s the Queen Bee around here,” reports Connie Fredman, who runs the medical boarding facility.
An extensive regimen of weekly massage and Tripawd rehab therapy sessions, along with ongoing pain management modalities like acupuncture have helped Spree stay active and strong. A daily regimen of medications including Gabapentin, Tramadol and Amantadine as well as fish oil and bone building supplements have also contributed to her resiliency. She gets blood work done every six months to ensure the pain management routine is kind to her health, and so far, so good.
But last winter, disaster struck. Spree started limping. Preliminary diagnostics were inconclusive, so vets performed a bone biopsy in her left hind leg to find out why. And that’s when things went terribly wrong. The bone biopsy shattered her leg. Spree the Tripawd was left with only two good limbs.
This 8.5 year old therapy dog didn’t have bone cancer, but the blood supply to her bone had dried up and made it brittle. The bone was necrotic and the only way to save her shattered limb was to surgically implant metal plates. Thankfully, the surgery worked but much of 2017 was spent in recovery mode. From swimming sessions twice a week in an indoor pool, to stem cell therapy, cold laser and acupuncture treatments, Spree’s long year of hard work has finally paid off.
“She’s doing well, she’s got a good spirit about her,” says Connie. As scary as a remaining rear leg surgery on a Tripawd can be, she says the recovery wasn’t too bad. “The worst part for her was that she didn’t get to sit in front of the car when we went places,” says Connie.
With a long recovery year behind her, Spree can get back to doing what she loves most. From her therapy dog days at the library to competing at the Doggy Olympics, there’s no end to the many ways she inspires people wherever she goes.