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This Engineer Helps Disabled Animals Live Normally by Providing Prosthetics

There are only so few prosthetics engineers specializing in animals in the world.

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Like humans, some animals are born with physical disabilities or impairments. And who are going to make the lives of these poor animals normal like the rest of their kind? The prosthetic engineers. Derrick Campana is one of them.

Being one of the world’s leading experts in animal orthotics, he works in a workshop full of machinery. Campana has ovens, sewing machines, and vacuum tubes lining the walls, which are used to make different prosthetic and orthotic devices for disabled animals and give them option for more mobility.

He revealed in an interview with PBS that he went to school for human prosthetic and orthotics, but he always loved animals. “To be able to combine both passions is just a dream come true,” he said, after sharing that he has the best job ever.

To focus on animal prosthetics instead of humans is rather unique since there are only few of them who are in this field. Campana takes pride in his work and for making the jump.

Source: animalorthocare’s Instagram

“A veterinarian came to my office and she brought a dog that needed a prosthesis,” he shared.  “At the time, it was so strange to me that someone would even do that.

“I gave it a shot, and it was successful. And a light bulb went off, and I said, ‘Let’s start a business.’”

Since he started 12 years ago, Campana estimates that he has treated more than 10,000 patients, 90% of which are dogs. Others are farm and zoo animals which include goats and eagles.

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But perhaps the most special treatment that he did was with the two Asian elephants in Thailand, who lost limbs in landmine explosions. Campana and his team produced casts for both animals.

Source: animalorthocare’s Instagram

“They were actually better than any patient I ever saw. They just held their legs out, and the trainers did such a good job … I was able to cast them pretty effectively,” he said. “It took a lot longer than casting a dog, but we got it done.”

The devices that Campana makes can cost between $500 and $1,200, depending on size and materials used. They are mostly created with highly durable, medical grade plastic and foam, crafted on plaster molds made from limb casts. His team plans to integrated 3D printing technology soon.

Source: PBS

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