3D printer technology is a powerful technology for custom crafting spare parts. It is being used in industry to create rapid prototypes and unlock the creativity of product designers. 3D printing is even being used in human medicine to create braces, knees, and skull pieces. Well, now it is being used to create prosthetic printed dog legs. Read about Derby and his 3D printed dog legs. The dog training experts at Canine Commander praise this new use of 3D printing.
3D Printed Dog Legs
Derby, a husky mix, was born with deformed front limbs. His owners got him a mobility cart, but it did not help all that much. A team composed of people from Animal Ortho Care and 3D Systems decided to print him some legs. The prosthetics were quite a success. Derby can walk, run and sprint. He currently is running several miles a day. Go Derby!
If you’ve ever seen the prosthetic running foot Flex-run they make for human athletes, you’ll notice that human-designed feet often don’t look much like nature designed feet. Derby’s new legs look more like rocking chair legs than regular dog feet. However, one advantage of building prosthetics for dogs is that they do not care what it looks like, they are all about the function.
Because the rest of Derby’s body is not used to moving in a normal fashion, he would crawl around with his body tipped forward. The new 3D printed dog legs are being built in a progressive fashion, gradually tipping him back up into a more normal dog posture as the rest of his body slowly adapts. Using 3D printing to fabricate a prosthetic makes this kind of gradual progression very easy to accommodate.
Companies can simply tweak the design slightly and print out a new set. For example, you may be aware of the braces called Invisilign, these are printed out from 3D printers in a gradual progression from how the teeth are now to how we want the teeth to be. A typical Invisilign user goes through a gradual progression of 20 to 50 different braces while correcting the teeth. This type of customization is practically impossible to achieve using other manufacturing techniques.
The Future of Animal Prosthetics
So will this technology help other dogs? Most likely it will. Dogs, who have lost one leg due to injury or disease, are somewhat common. Usually, they are expected to hop around on three legs, which they do quite readily. However, veterinarians report this abnormal way of moving puts stress on the rest of the body, which can cause pain and arthritic changes. If a readily available prosthetic can be put on, these dogs may go on to lead very normal lives.
For dogs that suffer from problems with two or more limbs, a variety of mobility carts, braces, and crude prosthetics have been fashioned by caring owners. There are even several companies that specialize in helping dogs with orthopedic problems. With the advent of progressive designed, 3D printed dog legs, even more dogs can be helped.
If you are in need of dog training or boarding on Long Island, NY contact the premier Long Island dog training company Canine Commander today.