When animals meet with misadventure and lose limbs or other body parts, it is often the end of the road for them. But here are some cases where someone went the distance and fitted animals with mobility aids and prosthetic so they can still get around, eat, and perform vital functions--and, most importantly, just enjoy their lives.
in some cases animals are benefiting from techniques developed for human beings. And in others they are pioneering new techniques that humans might benefit from in the future. It just goes to show that medicine and research, like compassion, provides benefits for humans and other animals alike.
Oscar lost his hind legs to farm machinery. And he is a really cutting edge cat, because Oscar's prosthetic legs are not attached to his body externally, they are bonded directly to his bones and then project out through his skin.
The technique being pioneered in Oscar the cat may eventually lead to the development of a human prosthetic that can protrude from or be covered by real skin so they are increasing similar to a real arm or leg. The most difficult aspect is making an artificial material that skin can bond to so no seam or wound is left that can acquire an infection.
Meanwhile other cats have to settled for basic strap-on prosthetic legs: Braveheart (2012).
Motala the elephant lost her leg to a land mine in 1999 in Thailand. She was working as the lumber moving elephant when she was left to forage for food and wandering into a mined area. For ten years she got by on three legs--no easy task for an animal of this size. But then a state-of-the-art prosthetic legs was made for her.
Thailand has the world's only elephant hospital and the elephant leg apparatus and harness was made by a company that makes human prosthetics. It is great to see so many people going the extra mile for this elephant. It was people who planted the land mine that injured her, and so people should do whatever they can to help her recover and lead the closest thing she can have to a normal elephant lifestyle.
Other elephants with prosthetics include: Mosa (2008), Chhouk (2011), Motala (2012).
- Carmen--sheep (2012)
- Midnite--mini-horse (2011)
- Nakio--A dog with prosthetics for all four legs (2011)
Stork: In 2005 the Oriental White Stork was already extinct in the wild, so Taisa was a very important part of his species' hopes for survival. So his caretakers were very concerned when he broke his beak and began to waste away. they had to find a way to help him be able to feed normally again. Aisa's caretakers at the Omoriyama Zoo created a new beak from resin and attached it to Taisa's beak stub using dental glue.
The White Stork captive breeding program began to release new storks into the wild that same year, begin the fragile process of pulling this beautiful bird back from the brink of extinction.
False beaks have also been provided for other species sush as Bald Eagles.
The provision of prosthetics for purely cosmetic reasons is controversial as it is not beneficial or necessary to the animal. For example "neuticles" which are fake testicles that can make neutered animals seem intact.
laur3n3l1zab3th on April 12, 2012:
This is such a cute article! It lets everyone know prosthetics aren't just for people. The elephant prosthetic must be very strong. Great hub.
tamron on October 19, 2011:
It's amazing what science and doctors can do! The Prosthetics is just one of the ways to help fix what we have destroyed. Vote Up! Stumble
MarloByDesign from United States on October 19, 2011:
Kudos to Oscar's Mom and Dad for saving his life...I hope he is happy and getting around okay. Very interesting Hub - rated INTERESTING.
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on October 18, 2011:
Awesome! This is the kind of things I like to see people doing for animals, rather than hunting them down, using them in circuses and the like, or just plain mistreating them.
I've read Oscar's story before--a real tear-jerker, with a happy ending. I'd not heard about the elephant or the stork, however. These are both great stories, and give me reason to have hope for the future of our animal brethren.
Voted up, interesting, beautiful and awesome! Thanks for sharing.