Friday, May 4, 2012

Robo-animal round-up

I've been following and following up on animals that have been outfitted with prosthetic limbs since my 1st post on April 9, 2009, about a turtle with a rudder, the dolphin with the neoprene fluke, and a crocodile whose jaw was repaired with a plate and screws. The latest is a lovely llama named Bella (photos above, video here), one of 40 llamas on a ranch in California who injured her leg when she accidentally stepped into a gopher hole 2 years ago. After she experienced a serious infection and mobility issues, owners Chuck and Trish Brandt-Robuck made the decision to amputate to save the animal's life. Prosthetist Michael Carlson of the Hanger Clinic, who helped repair Winter's tail, designed and fitted the llama with a rear leg that allows her to walk and run. "She was a pleasure to work with. No bites and no spits." Bella - now 13 and expected to live another 10 years - will even be able to breed.

Here are the stories about other bionic animals I have linked to: 
Eagle, stork, and toucan with repaired beaks
Cat with artificial knee
Pony with prosthetic leg
Miniature horse with artificial limb
Calf with prosthetic lower back legs
Asian elephant with prosthetic leg (video here)
Elephant calf with false foot
Turtle on furniture sliders
Tortoise with swivel wheel
Tortoise on Tonka truck chassis
Penguin in a wetsuit

Here are some robo-animals I missed:
Cat with implanted paw
Dog on wheels
Sheep with prosthetic leg
Goat with prosthetic leg
Fawn with prosthetic limbs
Parrot with an artificial leg (scroll down)
Sandhill crane with prosthetic leg (scroll down)
Kangaroo with artificial limb (scroll down)

There are now many veterinarians and prosthetists who are designing artificial limbs and body parts for injured animals. The domestic and wild animals benefit from the latest developments in human prosthetics, but humans also benefit from outfitting amputee animals. Working with their variety, but unrestrained by the necessity of the clinical trials required for humans, is called "a recipe for innovation." Another benefit of working with animals is their lack of vanity: "Indeed, the de facto response for many animals fitted with prosthetics is to parade around as though nothing about their bodies is unusual. They are indifferent about the appearance of their new appendages and seem to live free from the social pressures that so often affect humans aided by similar devices."

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I'd just like to point out from your 2009 post that the Florida Alligator was in fact the (much) rarer American Crocodile.


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