Helping Your Animal Get Their Life Back: Prosthetics for Pets
When an animal, such as a dog or a horse, loses a limb, this can be a huge blow to their attitude and outlook on life. They may have trouble adjusting and, after a while, may simply quit, choosing instead to not move about as much or engage in the types of things that used to make them happy such as mealtimes or playtimes. It can be tough for them to get back to their old selves and we know you want to help them as much as possible. That’s why Specialized Pet Solutions offers a range of prosthetic devices for your canine and equine friends to help them get their lives back and live them to their fullest.
Specialized Pet Solutions has been providing pet prosthetic and orthotic solutions within this industry for years. We fabricate everything at our small animal sanctuary in Denton, Maryland, allowing us to keep a low overhead and pass on the savings to our customers. We’re proud to craft perfectly unique solutions for each and every animal we create assistance systems for, ensuring that the overall health and well being of the animal is our number-one priority.
Here, we’ll discuss animal prosthetics and how our fabrications can help give an animal who has lost a limb or more due to a trauma of some kind the ability to feel like their old selves again. We love the work we do here at Specialized Pet Solutions and we’re excited to share it with you.
While human prostheses enjoys a history dating back to ancient Egypt when handicapped humans were first fitted with prosthetic and/or orthotic devices, the history of prostheses for animals is quite a bit briefer. It’s only been within the past 50-75 years that humans have evolved both the understanding of how animal anatomy works and the technology to create appropriate prosthetics for our wonderful furry, feathered, scaled, and other friends. Before we get into the canine- and equine-specific prostheses available through Specialized Pet Solutions, let’s delve into what some other fabricators have made for various animals over the years:
Cassidy the Dog: Cassidy the dog’s prosthetic is so high-tech that it’s made the scientists who worked on it hopeful for similar technology to adapt for humans. Cassidy was also one of the very first dogs to receive a prosthetic limb. Cassidy’s prosthetic was engineered by an associate professor of orthopedic surgery in North Carolina, Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little.
Fuji the Dolphin: 75% of Fuji’s tail had to be amputated due to a necrotic disease. Then the Bridgestone company heard about her plight and created a silicon replacement. Fuji became the first dolphin in the world with a prosthetic fin.
Beauty the Bald Eagle: A poacher shot Beauty, tragically maiming her beak so that she couldn’t eat by herself anymore and was dependent on hand-feeding for survival. After three years a group of volunteers made her a prosthetic beak, which allowed her to grasp food herself and eat properly again.
Riley the Mare: Infections like the one Riley had, thanks to a contaminated metal plate that was placed in her limb, are so common that it seems to be a given that the horse will just have to be put down. But this quarter horse’s survival of the infection and the use of a prosthetic limb are showing people that this doesn’t have to be the case. Riley’s survival is truly an inspiration to many.
Oscar the Cat: Oscar the cat’s hind legs were severed by a combine harvester while he snoozed in a maize field near his home in Jersey off the mainland of the United Kingdom. A passing cyclist found him and brought him back to his owners; at the time they said he was so covered in blood there was no way they thought he would make it. They got him to an animal hospital known for its pioneering work on the mainland of the UK, and Oscar was given then-unheard-of surgery and fitted with implanted prosthetics. He has been through a few surgeries to ensure the prosthetics are functioning properly and is known as Oscar the Bionic Cat.
These stories are becoming legion, with more and more extraordinary tales of survival and improved quality of life across a larger and larger variety of species all the time. One of the most important considerations, though, must be whether or not a prosthetic will help with improving the animal’s quality of life.
It’s easy to think that we know what is best for our pet, but it’s important to pay attention to the very real concerns about what a prosthetic will help them gain...and what it will not. A prosthetic isn’t the same as an original limb, no matter how hard we all want it to be. And it’s important to consider your pet’s happiness, possibly in contrast to your own. Your happiness at the thought of your pet successfully using a prosthetic may not be the same as your pet’s, and it’s important that you are able to differentiate between the two.
There are three major considerations to make if you are considering a prosthetic for your pet:
- Challenges for your pet: Device suspension, device rotation, and occasionally friction pressure sores are all considerations to make in terms of whether or not a prosthetic will do greater harm than good for your pet, by yourself, your vet, and your prosthetist.
- Is your pet a good candidate? Certain requirements exist that must be met to make sure that your pet will be comfortable and adapt well to a new limb.
- Make sure you and your vet’s goals are the same: Prosthetics can be made to meet so many goals it is important to ensure you’re on the same page in terms of mobility, type of support, stress, and movement, and other issues that will arise as your pet begins to use their prosthetic.
As always, it is imperative to include your prosthetist in many of these conversations to ensure everyone is on the same page.
As your prosthetist, we will generally communicate primarily with your vet about all of the specifics of the prosthetics. We’ll make sure we discuss everything we’ve discussed above as well as anything more that needs to be discussed in order to determine the right fit for your pet the first time.
We will ship you a casting kit along with everything you need to cast your pet. If you are not comfortable casting your pet, please make an appointment with your veterinarian to assist you in the casting process. Your veterinarian will be involved in this process, so having them cast your pet for you may be a good idea; if they are familiar with your pet and you feel comfortable casting the animal, it isn’t necessary to have the vet do the casting, however.