TATE Elbow enhances life for three-legged dog, February 4, 2015
BOZEMAN - Dogs suffer from arthritis just like humans. One of the more complicated forms of canine arthritis occurs in the elbow.
Belgrade resident Paul Englund's dog suffers from elbow arthritis. He and his wife adopted Levi about six years ago. At the time Levi had just lost a leg in a Coyote trap, but being three-legged didn't slow him down. "If you'd go hiking he'd go up the mountain four times before you even got half way up there and then about two and a half years ago his elbow started to deteriorate," said Englund.
Levi's vet Dr. Christine Kenyon explained the complexities of elbow arthritis. "Basically the elbow is the most complex joint in the body, many joints within one joint so it can be very tricky to fix and in a dog it's a weight bearing and until recently there wasn't anything we could do about it."
The Englunds tried everything to help Levi, from acupuncture, a wheelchair and even water therapy, but nothing helped the pain. "I couldn't put him down as happy as he was just being alive," said Englund.
Dr. Kenyon recommended that Levi get a Tate elbow, an implant designed by Dr. Randy Acker in Sun Valley, Idaho. "There's a machine that goes out and makes a big space in there and then the implant goes in and it takes away those articular joints surfaces that are causing all the pain," explained Dr. Kenyon.
The problem was that Levi would be only the second three-legged dog to receive the Tate Elbow. The procedure was risky, but Paul took Levi to Sun Valley and hoped for the best. The day of the surgery he had to carry Levi. "He was either coming home in an elbow or coming home in a box," said Englund.
After a few rough days Levi started getting better and improving every day. The implant is considered a success. Today, Levi is pain free and the Englunds believe the implant was worth every penny of the $4,500 price tag. "A lot of guys my age have cars they work on and things like that. He turned into my project," said Englund.
The Tate Elbow was developed and named after Dr. Randy Acker's yellow lab, Tate who suffered from severe elbow arthritis.
Story courtesy of Judy Slate, KBZK, Bozeman, MT
Watch Levi and his return to a game of Frisbee here: