Antoine's Story: Weighing the Risks

The research of Antoine’s CSU surgeon, Dr. Felix Duerr, focused on improving animal health and quality of life related to orthopedic problems, so he was the perfect doctor for Antoine. But even before Dr. Duerr agreed to see Antoine, he warned the situation was severe and the procedure he was considering was not commonplace.


Antoine and Dr. Duerr


Dr. Duerr wanted to try to lengthen the quadriceps muscle in Antoine’s left hind leg by attaching a stretching device anchored outside with external hardware called a fixator. The right hind leg wasn’t badly affected, but they made an orthotic for it to provide stability while Antoine healed from the surgery. This would be followed up with a long road of aggressive rehabilitation and custom orthotics. Duerr noted that Antoine was “a wonderful dog (who) actually seems to think he’s totally fine.” In another hopeful email, he wrote, “I do think this is worthwhile attempting. However, I think Antoine’s spirit is going to be a big part of a hopefully successful outcome.” Antoine’s recovery was going to be a complicated process with lots of pieces that had to be in place. Janet struggled making this huge decision for a precious dog she barely knew. There was a lot of risk with an unknown outcome. Ultimately, she believed they had to try because one thing was apparent to all involved –Antoine’s infectious, positive temperament would carry him through, and he had already begun to touch those around him. It was at this time Antoine’s name was changed from Blue. He deserved a name equal in strength to his character.

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