What are animal prosthetics made of?

Animal prosthetics can be made from a variety of materials depending on the design and need for the prosthetic. For example, some prosthetic limbs can be made from plastic or titanium.  They can be either molded or, more commonly, 3D printed.

Other prosthetics, like new tails for alligators and fins for dolphins, can be created using rubber.

So, without further ado, here are 13 examples of animal prosthetics. This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.

1. This vet gave a parakeet prosthetic wings

Source: Paul Williams/Flickr

After its owner over-zealously clipped its wings, this parakeet kept repeatedly falling to the ground after the unfortunate event. A vet gave the parakeet a new lease in life.

The twelve-week old called Wei Wei was given a set of new artificial feathers and, within hours, was back in the air once more. The vets at The Unusual Pets Vets in Brisbane, Australia performed the novel feathery-fix earlier this month.

The prosthetic wings were donated to the veterinary surgery and were cleaned, sterilized and dried before being used. The base of each clipped feather was cut to allow the entry of a wooden toothpick attached to the new feathers which were then glued into place.

2. This quadriplegic cat was given titanium 3D printed legs

After suffering from a serious case of frostbite, this cat was given a set of 3D printed titanium legs to get back on its paws. The cat, called Dymka, is now the world's second recipient of such artificial animal limbs.

Dymka was found shivering in the snow by a passer-by when she was taken to a local veterinary clinic to save her life.  Veterinarians and researchers from Russia’s Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) rapidly moved to save her life and limbs.

After amputating the damaged parts of her legs, the team took CT scans of her limbs using x-rays. These scans were then used to design the prosthetic limbs prior to them being grafted to her leg stumps.

3. This vet has given thousands of animals prosthetic limbs

Source: aocpet

A vet from Sterling, Virginia, Derrick Campana, has given thousands of animals another shot at life by giving them prosthetic limbs. Campana creates braces and other artificial limbs to help give his patients back their mobility and quality of life.

"His practice, Animal Ortho Care, located in Sterling, Virginia, sends out kits to veterinarians and pet owners so they can cast molds of their patients or pets. Once the casting kits are returned, Campana crafts a personalized brace, or prosthetic, out of thermoplastic material. " - msn.com.

4. This eagle was given a prosthetic beak

A bald eagle, called Beauty, lost most of its beak when it was shot by a poacher. Three years later a group of researchers worked tirelessly to design and create a new prosthetic beak for Beauty.

Being key to its survival, the new beak has allowed the eagle to once again feed itself. Normally birds like this, that need to be hand-fed, are typically euthanized.

5. This elephant was given a new prosthetic foot

Source: The Intrepid Foundation

A fifty-year-old elephant called Motala lost his foot when he accidentally stepped on a land mine. Thankfully, the elephant lives in Thailand which is one of the few countries in the world with a dedicated elephant hospital.

After being treated for his wounds, his carers designed and created an artificial prosthetic replacement for his lost foot.

6. This dolphin was given a new prosthetic tail

Source: Singularity Hub

After losing 75% of its fin from a necrotic disease, this dolphin named Fuji was given a new one. Bridgestone, the company famed for making car tires, helped design and create the new tail fin for the unfortunate cetacean.

Fuji is now the first dolphin in history to receive such a prosthetic fin.

7. This horse was given a new prosthetic leg

Source: Horsetalk

A horse called Riley lost one of its hind-limbs after it started to deteriorate after being treated with a contaminated metal plate. Because of the injury, the mare was scheduled to be euthanized by its owners.

But the sanctuary staff decided to try something different and gave her an artificial limb instead.

8. This tortoise was given a set of wheels to get around

Source: Riyaad Minty/Flickr

Tuly the tortoise lost one its forelimbs when it was chewed off by a rat as the tortoise was hibernating. Thankfully, there was a happy ending as Tuly was given a toy tractor wheel to replace its lost limb.

9. This cat received tow new leg after a combine harvester accident

Source: Daniela/Flickr

Oscar the cat appears to have used up a few of its nine lives after a horrible encounter with a combine harvester. The wounded Oscar was found by a passer-by who took him to a local vet.

After a series of x-rays were taken, two prosthetic limbs were created for Oscar before he was returned to his owners.

10. This homeless dog received a new home and a new leg

Source: Animal Prostheses

Cassidy the dog was found wandering the streets alone underweight and missing one rear leg. One local family found Cassidy and decided to them a new home.

Not only that, but after some research they found a facility that could create a prosthetic limb for the dog.

11. This stork received a new beak

Source: Antigua Magazine

A stork called Uzonka had its beak badly damaged by an unknown animal abuser. Thankfully after a series of surgeries, Uzonka was given a new prosthetic beak to replace their old damaged one.

12. This alligator received a new prosthetic tail

Source: Inside Edition/YouTube

An alligator called Mister Stubbs lost a large portion of its tail during a fight with another alligator. After being discovered in an illegal shipment of exotic animals, a team of experts gave Mister Stubbs a new 1-meter long rubber prosthetic tail.

13. This tiger received a new prosthetic hip

Source: Mathias Appel/Flickr

And finally, this unfortunate tiger received a new prosthetic hip after suffering from a serious case of arthritis. Simply called 'Girl', the tiger underwent a three-hour procedure back in 2011 to receive the new hip that was originally designed for dogs.


This list was curated from Interesting Engineering, Christopher McFadden


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