Athena was surrendered to the Humane Rescue Alliance at only 17 weeks of age with displaced fractures noted in the distal radius and ulna of both forelimbs. Not much is known about her history or cause of her injuries, but no doubt they were severe and very painful. The Humane Rescue Alliance reached out to Project GO for assistance and in January 2018, Dr. David Dycus at Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group (VOSM) performed fracture repair surgery to both forelimbs. Athena is recovering very well from surgery in the comfort of her foster family’s home!


Chai was approximately 2 years old when she was surrendered to Bay Water Animal Rescue from her original owner that lived in Montgomery County. Her original owner was on a search to locate a no-kill shelter when she landed upon Bay Water Animal Rescue which is located in Dorchester County. Typically Bay Water Animal Rescue does not accept out of county surrenders, but Chai’s description had all of their hearts melting. When she arrived at the rescue she was just as sweet as can be! She loved every single person, dog, and even cats she met! Her owner mentioned that Chai had some “knee arthritis” which the rescue understood could likely be managed. However, when they got Chai out and moving around, they noticed she was very unstable in both of her back legs. After a further evaluation from a local veterinarian, it was discovered that Chai did not have “knee arthritis” and was diagnosed with bilateral luxating patellas. Bay Water Animal Rescue brought her to Dr. Chris Leasure at VOSM for an orthopedic consultation where he confirmed the diagnosis of bilateral luxating patellas. Bay Water Animal Rescue was able to fundraise over $4,000 towards the two separate surgeries Chai desperately needed, but unfortunately still needed additional funding. Project GO stepped in to help with the remaining funding required for Chai’s second surgery and she is currently recovering well with her foster family. We recently received word that the foster family is officially going to “foster fail” and formally adopt Chai into their home once she is fully recovered!


Rudy, a 9 year old explosives detection dog with the Annapolis Fire Department, was suffering from intermittent right hind limb lameness. Rudy has worked for the Annapolis Fire Department for the past 8 years and has been with his handler, Lieutenant Kelly Ruth, for that entire time. After a couple months of intermittent lameness Rudy suddenly became acutely lame, so the Annapolis Fire Department knew they needed to take action. Rudy was evaluated by a local veterinarian who diagnosed him with a torn right Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) tear and recommended surgery to correct the injury. However the surgery was going to cost over $4,000 and The Annapolis Fire Department didn’t this amount of funding available. The Annapolis Fire Department reached out to the Chesapeake K9 Fund for help. Wendy Oliver, the President & Co-founder of the Chesapeake K9 Fund, started a campaign called “Run Rudy Run” to raise money for Rudy’s surgery. Within a few short days they were able to raise over $1,000, but needed more help. Wendy learned of Project GO and reached out for additional financial assistance. Project GO immediately approved the funding for Rudy’s surgery and delivered the news that they would fully fund the cost of the surgery on Rudy’s 9th birthday, December 20, 2017. Just one week later, Rudy had a right Tibial-plateau-leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery performed by Dr. Sherman Canapp at Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group (VOSM). He is currently on the road to recovery and will be able to return to work with a few short months!


Melody is a 9-month-old medium mixed breed that was transported and rescued by Last Chance Animal Rescue in Waldorf, Maryland after being found injured and starving in Texas following Hurricane Harvey. The veterinarians at Last Chance Animal Rescue evaluated Melody upon her arrival as she presented with an abnormal swelling of her right stifle with her distal limb externally rotated.

There was severe muscle atrophy on her right hind and at a run, she was completely non-weight bearing. X-rays seem to show a craniolaterally displaced patella (LPL) and suspected previous trauma to the distal femur and proximal tibia. The rescue considered amputating the limb, but Project GO reached out to help. Dr. Chris Leasure at Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group performed a right trochlear block recession, medial joint capsule imbrication, and lateral release on Melody in October 2017. She has been healing well and has found her forever home with her foster family!


Kona is a 3-year-old Presa Canario that was adopted in March 2017. She was rescued after being found tied up with a rope hanging from the top of a garage by her forelimbs. The family that adopted her, the O’Conner’s, include dad, mom, and a young toddler. Mr. O’Conner has been diagnosed with severe depression, stress, generalized anxiety, and PTSD related to his previous military service. Kona is Mr. O’Conner’s trained psychiatric support animal and her presence has proven to help Mr. O’Conner with his ability to function. The family was limited in their financial resources to help treat Kona’s hind limb injuries that occurred in August 2017 after Kona fell while jumping in the car. Kona presented to Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group (VOSM) and was diagnosed with bilateral Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) tears as well as a left grade 3/4 Medial Patella Luxation (MPL) and a right grade 2/4 MPL. Kona underwent a left Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) with locking plate and screws and a caudal pole hemimeniscectomy with Dr. Chris Leasure at VOSM in October 2017. Following a successful five-week recheck, Kona underwent a right TPLO with locking plate and screws, a caudal pole hemimeniscectomy, medial imbrication, and a lateral release with Dr. Leasure in November 2017. Both surgeries were fully funded by Project GO and we are pleased to report that Kona is healing wonderfully!


Haze is a 6-month-old Pitbull mix that was rescued by the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C. It was suspected that he had been hit by a car as he presented with mild pulmonary contusions and a right tibial/fibular fracture. Due to the severity of the injury Project GO approved funding for his surgery, and in September 2017 Haze underwent a right open reduction and internal fixation of the right mid-diaphyseal long-oblique tibial fracture with Dr. Chris Leasure at Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group (VOSM). Following surgery VOSM’s lead surgery technician, Sonja, volunteered to foster Haze during his recovery due to his sweet nature. It was inevitable that Sonja would fall in love with Haze which ultimately led to a “foster fail.” Haze now lives with Sonja and her family along with their other small dogs and cats. He’s now fully recovered and loving life!


Chocobanana, a 7-month-old Labrador puppy, was brought to Project GO from The Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) with a left femoral fracture. Project GO received two donations in order to help cover the costs of Chocobanana’s surgery. One was received through the PNC Cultivation Event that was held to raise awareness for Project GO. Dr. Dycus successfully performed surgery and through the efforts of Project GO and generous contributions, Chocobanana will be adopted following her recovery.


Project GO/VOSM was notified that Colby, a 1yr old pitbull, was surrendered to the Humane Rescue Alliance and was in need of orthopedic assistance. We received his history, radiographs, and other diagnostic reports and reviewed them. Upon examination by Dr. Chris Leasure at VOSM, bilateral laterally luxating patella’s were diagnosed and surgical correction was recommended for both hind limbs.

We prepared an estimate and submitted this to the Project GO Case Approval Committee for acceptance and Colby’s first surgery was scheduled with Dr. Chris Leasure. He had his first surgery on June 13, 2017, and this consisted of right trochlear block recession; lateral joint capsule release; medial joint capsule imbrication. He returned to the Humane Rescue Alliance and was placed in a foster home. At 4-week postoperative recheck, radiographs were taken which revealed that Colby was healed enough to have the second surgery performed on his left hind limb. Yesterday Colby had his second surgery performed by Dr. Chris Leasure: left trochlear block recession; lateral joint capsule release; medial joint capsule imbrication.


Jen and Sophie live in Yorktown, VA and are volunteer members of Greater Atlantic K9 Search and Rescue (GARD K9SAR), based out of the Hampton Roads area. Sophie is a 4 yr old german shepherd, who is only 2 tests away from completing her certification for the Commonwealth of Virginia/Virginia Department of Emergency management as a Live-find Wilderness Search and Rescue dog. Testing is currently on hold while Sophie undergoes physical therapy and treatment for fibrotic myopathy. Jen has been a K9 search and rescue handler since 1993 (for teams in Utah, Arizona, and now Virginia). Sophie is her 4th german shepherd.

Sophie’s initial injury was noted during a training in July of 2016. She was completing a training exercise, and while running up a hill to find someone, Jen and a teammate noticed she was limping. Jen took Sophie to her vet, who did x-rays and diagnosed the injury as a soft tissue injury. Jen had Sophie rest for a few weeks, which produced some improvement. While Sophie wasn’t limping anymore, Jen still noticed what appear to be a “funny” gait, almost looked like a mild limp, but not quite. After weeks of Rimadyl and rest, Sophie didn’t appear to be in any pain or discomfort, but her gait remained unchanged. Jen finally made the decision to take Sophie to see Dr. Patterson at PAWS for Rehabilitation in Virginia Beach, VA. After in-depth diagnostic testing which included physical examination, range of motion testing, and gait analysis, it was concluded that Sophie had fibrotic myopathy. Treatment plan included: massage, stretching, therapeutic ultrasound, K-laser, and shockwave therapy. With limited options available to improve Sophie’s condition, a referral to Dr. Sherman Canapp was given to explore any possible options for treatment.

Jen and Sophie met with Dr. Canapp on October 13, 2016. More diagnostic testing was performed; more gait analysis, and a diagnostic ultrasound, to see how much scar tissue was actually present. After Dr. Canapp had more of a chance to review Sophie’s case, it was determined that collagenase injections would be the best course of treatment.


Trooper Porter, a police K-9, was injured on the job while taking part in a search and rescue mission where he suddenly fell 25 feet from a cliff and injured his right forelimb. After being rushed to an area veterinary clinic, X-rays ruled out the possibility of a fracture. Porter’s forelimb was placed in a splint to await further evaluation. Six weeks later, an MRI was performed to look at the structures in his arm and wrist. Throughout this time, Porter could not walk properly on his forelimb. His rehabilitation therapist knew that more could be done to improve Porter’s injury and contacted Dr. Sherman Canapp for his opinion in spite of exhausted financial resources. Dr. Canapp immediately contacted Project GO for financial assistance and arranged Porter’s visit to VOSM for evaluation and treatment.

Dr. Canapp provided Porter with a full orthopedic examination to determine his injuries and the next steps needed. The injury was localized to Porter’s right carpus, and so a diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound of the carpus was recommended to look at the tendons and ligaments, and grade any injuries seen. Dr. Debra Canapp performed the ultrasound and found that Porter had sprains in his flexor carpi ulnaris and medial collateral ligament. The injuries were found to be mid-grade strains, also known as partial ruptures, and regenerative medicine therapy with stems cells and platelet-rich plasma was recommended as a treatment option. Porter was also recommended to wear a custom brace to protect the regenerative medicine treatment and soft tissues during healing.

A sample of Porter’s bone marrow was collected from his femur, along with a sample of blood, and these were processed into bone-marrow derived stem cells and platelet-rich plasma (PRP). The stem cells and PRP were combined. The combination was then injected into Porter’s injured tendons and ligaments using ultrasound guidance. While waiting for the custom brace to be made, Porter was placed in a fiberglass splint. He was allowed to return home the following day with instructions to continue care with his rehabilitation therapist until his next appointment at VOSM.

Four weeks after treatment, Porter was evaluated by Drs. Sherman and Debra Canapp. The physical examination showed that Porter was adjusting well to using his new brace and was attempting to walk appropriately about 50% of the time. After confirming his was healing properly, Porter was allowed to begin formal weekly rehabilitation with his primary therapist.

Porter again returned to VOSM for an eight-week re-evaluation of his healing. Drs. Sherman and Debra Canapp noted that Porter was more comfortable walking in his brace and that the swelling of his carpus had improved. The recheck ultrasound revealed that the flexor carpi ulnaris strain and the medial collateral ligament sprain were both improved and that his healing continued within the expected timeframe. Porter was then allowed small, gradual amounts of dynamization of his brace to allow for limited, controlled movement of his carpus. He went home to receive more weekly rehabilitation therapy as healing progressed.

Porter continues his recovery with the help of VOSM and his local rehabilitation therapist and primary care veterinarian.