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Dog tries out new prosthetic foot (14/01/2011)

Operation could have repercussions for dogs with joint problems.

Mitzi has made a full recovery after her operation. Owners of dogs with canine joint disease may be interested to hear that a German Shepherd has had a prosthetic foot fitted.

Mitzi the dog was injured last year when a horse trampled her lower leg, but veterinarian Dr Noel Fitzpatrick managed to fit a titanium implant to the bone below the joint, K9 magazine reports.

This means that the prosthesis has the same flexibility of movement as a real foot.

Dr Fitzpatrick commented that the operation could have gone either way.

"There was always a risk that the exoprosthesis could actually break when Mitzi ran off her lead so this truly was a nail-biting moment for me and for the design team as it could have failed spectacularly.

"What we've seen today is remarkable. Mitzi is walking with an entirely normal gait, with her foot moving exactly the way it should and today marks day one of Mitzi's return to living life like a normal dog," he added.

The pioneering surgery could have repercussions for owners of dogs with other types of joint problems, such as canine arthritis.