Mini Horse Overcomes the Odds with Help from Plastic Prosthesis
Advanced plastic prosthetic devices can help animals with mobility challenges live better. Learn more about how plastics help them walk, run, play, and just be themselves.
Watch how custom-made plastic prosthetic devices change animals’ lives, thanks to orthotist Derrick Campana.
Animal orthotist Derrick Campana has seen his share of inspiring moments. He’s helped thousands of animals—from turtles to bald eagles to elephants—overcome severe mobility challenges, enabling them to live better, more fulfilling lives. And he couldn’t do it without plastics.
Thanks to the versatility of plastics, Derrick can custom-build prosthetic devices to meet the unique needs of each animal under his care. Whether it’s a tough outer shell for durability and support or a soft foam interior for comfort, plastics enable Derrick to make sure each device is customized just right. And since plastics are easily moldable, Derrick can readily reshape a device as an animal grows—helping reduce costs and make these life-changing mobility devices available to more animal owners.
Meet a few of Derrick’s patients who overcame their mobility challenges:
Angel Marie’s life got off to a rough start: when she was just two days old, she suffered a severe injury to one of her front legs when her mother accidentally stepped on her. Sadly, the leg had to be amputated, making it very difficult to move around on her own. Her condition could have led to severe medical complications.
Lennie, Angel Marie’s owner and the founder of Double B Equine Rescue, searched for a solution to help his beloved mini horse walk again. He reached out to Derrick, who fitted her with a custom plastic prosthetic leg, along with a sturdy plastic brace to support her other front leg. Although it took some time for Angel Marie to learn to use her mobility devices, now she’s able to walk, stand, and eat on her own—not to mention escape her stall if Lennie forgets to lock her door!
One of Derrick’s most well-known patients, Hudson the Railroad Puppy, was abandoned and wounded on train tracks in Upstate New York when he was just four months old.
Fortunately, Hudson was rescued, but veterinarians had to amputate one of Hudson’s severely injured hind legs, making everyday mobility a struggle for the young pup.
Hudson’s adoptive owner Richard was determined to help Hudson live a better life. He took Hudson to see Derrick, who custom designed and built a durable, lightweight plastic prosthesis that fit Hudson just right. In fact, the very first time Hudson tried on his new prosthesis, he took off running! Now he spends his days serving as a therapy dog for people in need and living a full, happy dog’s life.
Kenna was just like any other dog—except she struggled to stand or walk on her own due to a birth defect that made her right front leg much shorter than her left. Kenna’s owner, a nurse named Cathy, knew the puppy would be in danger of developing arthritis if she was forced to hobble on one front leg.
Cathy and her husband Bill learned that a custom prosthetic device might help Kenna live a normal life, so they took her to see Derrick when she was just eight weeks old. Derrick made Kenna a plastic prosthetic paw that was strong enough to support the growing puppy but light enough to let her run, play, and even dig in the dirt—which she happily did just moments after trying on the device for the first time. Now Kenna loves chasing tennis balls, playing with her family’s other dogs, and going for long walks—just like any other dog.
When Jennifer rescued Beauty the goat, she didn’t know how Beauty’s legs became so severly damaged… to the point that walking would be impossible. That didn’t stop Beauty from getting around—even though she couldn’t use her legs to walk, she could still use them to “scoot” along the ground. Still, Beauty’s improvised mobility technique frequently led to injuries on the rough terrain.
To help give Beauty a better life, Jennifer turned to Derrick. Using a variety of plastics to provide both durability and comfort, Derrick made Beauty a set of custom knee pads to help keep her safe and comfortable as she scooted about. Now Beauty loves exploring her surroundings, scooting around her family’s yard, and stealing chicken food when she thinks no one’s looking.
These animals and countless others with mobility challenges faced an uncertain future. But thanks to Derrick’s dedication—and innovative plastic prosthetics—they have a better chance to live the happy lives they deserve.
Photo Gallery: See some inspiring animals who beat the odds with the help of plastics.
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