Local News

German Shepherd Makes Great Strides After Experimental Treatment At NCSU

Posted March 24, 2003 1:12 a.m. EST

— There are nearly 68 million dogs in the United States.

Most owners would do anything for their pets, and, with the advances in medical treatment, many do.

Last year, WRAL began following a young German Shepherd that was going to eventually have to be euthanized because of its severely deformed legs. But one year and two surgeries later, the dog's owner said she's witnessed a miracle.

Bailey has come a long way in a year.

"We went from a dog who could not run, could not jump, would fall over even when she tried to do fast walking, to a dog that's just like a great puppy," said Diane Turocy, Bailey's owner.

Last April, Bailey had severe deformities in both legs. Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little of North Carolina State's Veterinary Hospital pioneered a way to treat them.

The doctor worked with N.C. State engineers to build a plastic model of Bailey's legs. From that, he made steel frames that would completely re-shape the bone.

The frames made for a quicker and more accurate surgery.

Just a few months after her second surgery, Bailey is much improved. She runs, jumps and sits straight.

"The thigh and the leg have changed shape," Marcellin-Little said, "and she has adapted to that quite well.

"So far, I think Bailey is as happy as we would want, and it's wonderful."

The hospital absorbed much of the expense of the treatment, because it was basically an experiment. Nevertheless, the treatment still cost Diane nearly $7,000.

"The expense was overwhelming," she said. "Sometimes, you think: 'Why, for a dog?' But she's my companion, and I love her."

Bailey still has a lot of healing to do. The doctor said he expects to see continued improvement.

Launching off Bailey's successful experiment, the N.C. State School of Veterinary Medicine is trying even more new things, like growing tissue for surgery.