Special Needs Animals and 3D Printed Prosthetics

3D Printed Prosthetics for Animals with Special Needs


3D printed prosthetics for animals is one of the areas where 3D printing can be invaluable in producing customized ingenious contraptions. This 3D printing application has been pulling them back to their active lifestyles or being used as part of the treatment. We have been witnessing the continued adoption of this technology in various spheres of our lives, with some amazing success and even life-saving stories.


This guide covers:

3D Printed Prosthetics for Animals

3D printed prosthetics is featured frequently in the media. We also mentioned it in our 3D printing in the medicine guide. But here we will cover some remarkable stories when 3D printed prosthetics helps animals in need. In the following article, you will find the images and the case studies with dogs, birds, goats, and even a turtle. As we aim to keep updating this article, more stories will be added in due course. If you want a particular story to be featured here, please contact us.

Customized at the Right Time

There are plenty of professional prosthetics services and, in many cases, the solutions they provide are better than those 3D printed at home. But as training the animals to get used to the prosthetic device should start as early as possible, especially for the fast-growing youngsters, 3D printed at home customized devices can be really helpful and cost-cutting in the near term.

Dogs with Special Needs – Amy’s Story

Recently, Anycubic published a heart-warming story about dogs with special needs. Amy Jo Martin shared their story of how Mega X and Vyper 3D printers helped them to create safety and mobility-enabling devices. With various levels of disability, these dogs had their lives improved.

With special needs dogs, partially because of their friendly and adaptive nature, such structures can greatly benefit them and help to live their lives in full. Usually, such structures are carts with wheels, that assist with the movement. Apart from the carts and movement helping structures, Amy 3D printed a helm for her little dog Jett who had neurological issues. As the result, Jett received both a quad cart wheelchair and a helmet.

Customized Horseshoes

Most of the stories we’ve heard in connection to using 3D printing in helping horses were about the hooves. As large animals, they need to protect their hooves from damage and general wear and tear. Traditional horseshoes require nails to be put into the hooves, and if a hoof is damaged or has inflammation, this turns into a painful procedure. Some horse carers called upon the vets together with 3D designers, 3D printing service agencies, or the machine manufacturers to find a solution.

Quite a few success stories came out of this practice. In one case, horses have been aided with customized horseshoes that could be easily changeable for the use on either harder or softer surfaces. In another case, the new flexible 3D designed and customized horseshoes allowed them to keep finding the right balance between the different parts of the hoof. This decreased pain and rebalanced the weight.

Birds with Damaged Beaks

There are a few remarkable stories out there about how 3D printing helped to recreate the damaged beaks of the birds.
– Tieta the Toucan. The female bird had her beak restored. A detailed story was covered on BBC.
– Beauty the Bold Eagle. A story when the 3D printing technology helped to restore Eagle’s beak which was lost after a hunting incident.

Tieta The Toucan - 3D Printed Beak Prosthesis
Tieta The Toucan
(Photo: DANIELLE AIRES via BBC)

Helms – Not Only for Rams

For humans, there are plenty of head protectors, segmented by standard sizes. When the animals are concerned, such items must be customized, and producing them in high volumes can be costly. We have been seeing helms 3D printed for goats and dogs successfully. Such safety features could be added for other animals who have scull vulnerabilities.

Sea Life – 3D Printed Shells, Reefs and Homes

Apart from prosthetics, it is worth mentioning that 3D printing helps to restore the ecosystem of coral reefs. A part of this are the new 3D printed shells for shellfish, and it is handy for saving some endangered species.

Before - After - Artificial Reefs Printed in Terracota Clay
Before – After – Artificial Reefs Printed in Terracota Clay
(Image: Archireef)

– Dolphin with an Artificial Fin. 3D printed artificial limb case. Fuji lost 75% of his fin due to a necrotic disease. A replacement fin for Fuji was made out of silicone, cushioned with foamed rubber, and reinforced with carbon fiber.

3D Printed Artificial Limb - Dolphin with Restored Fin
Dolphin with Restored Fin
(Image: Singularityhub)

Conclusion

It is clear that with the 3D printing capabilities, the wide choice of materials, and customized designs, the lives of both animals and humans can be vastly improved. We’ve seen many attempts to create 3D printed prosthetics at home, which has been tested and improved with time. The technology is becoming more effective for these purposes, and we are sure to see other applications in the near future.

Special Needs Animals and 3D Printed Prosthetics
Special Needs Animals and 3D Printed Prosthetics

Thumbnail Compilation Superstars:

Clockwise:
Pigpen the Duck
via DiveDesign
Hannah the Dog
via DiveDesign Instagram
Bo the Goat
via Bionic Pets
Shelby the Turtle
via DiveDesign Instagram
Jett the Dog
via Amy Jo Martin’s Facebook
Alice the Goat
via Adaptive Tech & Consulting


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