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The New World Of Animal Prostetics

It's not an uncommon sight to see one of our fuzzy friends walking around short a paw or leg. Limb loss in animals can be due to many reasons. Some are unfortunately born missing a part, while others may lose a limb or other part due to an accident or disease. While prosthetics have been developed for a long time in order to solve these problems, many are costly and out of reach for many pet owners. In modern times, however, that does not have to be the case. Modern veterinarians are able to make use of 3D printers in order to print custom prosthetics for pets at a fraction of the price of previous methods.

3D Printing

For those who are unaware, 3D printing involves using machines that extrude a material (generally plastic or resin) or a surface at high temperatures in order to slowly build up a 3D object, such as prosthetics in this scenario. Such prosthetic parts have to be carefully modeled to not only fit the animal but also to function correctly to support whatever function they are needed for. Missing limbs, broken beaks, and even broken turtle shells are just a few examples of medical issues veterinarians have been able to fix thanks to 3D printing. For smaller pets, pet owners even have the option of printing their own prosthetics. Smaller, consumer use 3D printers can cost as low as $200 for some PLA (a type of printing material made of spools of plastic) printers, and the filament can be as cheap as $20 for a large spool. For heavier animals such as horses, stronger materials would be needed that might require more professional grade printers. 3D models for various prosthetics exist online, available for free or for a small fee. There are also larger 3D printing communities with many tutorials for buying and using printers and modeling custom prints.

Breaking It In

You may ask the question whether or not your little friend will enjoy their new plastic parts. For anybody who has tried to put their cat in a sweater or get their dog to wear a hat, they know that generally, animals do not enjoy having foreign objects stuck to them. It is true that it takes many animals a lot of getting used to in order to accept their new prosthetic, but most are generally able to get used to it after some time. Its a learning process for pets, as they may need to relearn how to do basic tasks like walking, running, eating, or even just sleeping, depending on what type of prosthetic they needed. Once that learning curve has been overcome, most pets will experience a higher quality of life through the help of 3D printed prosthetics.

I Need Prosthetics For My Pet

For those who have an interest or need of prosthetic parts for their pets should ask their veterinarian about any services available. Anyone who is interested in printing anything themselves can look into websites such as thingiverse.com or 3dprinting.com to get started learning more about the process.

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