Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Lucky Scottish Kitty Receives 3D Printed Leg Orthotic, Hoping to Avoid Amputation

ST Medical Devices

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bioniccat2Everybody needs someone or something to nurture, and while we may have families, friends, and a host of hobbies, it’s a wonderful thing to have a small furry creature sharing our lives as well.

While many state that it’s simply nice to have someone there to greet you at the door, expressing their unconditional love when you come home from a hard day’s work, your cat, dog, bird–and the list goes on–is a central part of the family–and as with any other loved one, when they are sick, we are all quite simply, very sad.

Pet care is very important to most, so it’s no surprise that as 3D printing is transforming the human world, we are sharing the technology with our pets as much as possible too, from fun ventures like 3D printed pet sculptures, to the basics like 3D printed food bowls–and far more.

As with 3D printing for us, there are much more serious areas where 3D printing is having impacts, and the medical arena is certainly a great example as people’s lives are now being continually helped–and even saved–through 3D printing. With pets, we’ve seen numerous 3D printed prosthetics, and even wheelchairs for kittens, recently. Something new on the horizon though–and an innovation one kitty can be very happy about–is the 3D printed orthotic.

Sprocket is a feline living in Scotland. Owned by an art student at the Glasgow School of Art, this cat has been through some challenges that may have very difficult to overcome without the love and concern of devoted owner, Fergus Fullarton Pegg.

formlbs1While we do everything possible and relish in the accomplishments and rewards of providing our pets with the ultimate in comfort, the fact is that they are still animals, living in both our realm–and very much theirs still, too. This can lead to danger on both fronts, as exhibited by some of challenges Sprocket has recently endured. Fullarton Pegg has seen Sprocket, a kitten still under a year old, survive both being hit by a car and then mauled by a neighborhood dog six weeks later.

Fullarton Pegg decided to put his talents as a design innovation researcher to good use for his cat, and created a 3D printed orthotic for Sprocket, in hopes that it would be an improvement in helping him to gain mobility, despite previous surgery that wired his leg back together. The ultimate goal is to help his cat move, but also more importantly–to avoid amputation.

bowlReaching for a brace initially, rather than what could eventually be a prosthetic, Fullarton Pegg was able to help both protect and support the leg comfortably and reduce pressure and strain on the limb. His project was approved by a local veterinarian. Produced with a Formlabs 3D printer, this orthotic is a great example of the substantial designs that can be produced directly from the desktop.

This is also a similar lightweight product used to help Cleopatra the Tortoise, whom we have been following since early in the year as she received a prosthetic shell in Colorado, helping her to return to normal, as well as avoiding infection and disease.

The prognosis for Sprocket is still a bit sketchy regarding the health of his leg. While they are hoping the orthotic can help, if amputation is the only possible route, owner Fullarton Pegg already has a 3D prosthetic design at the ready.  What are your thoughts on this prosthetic?  Let us know in the 3D Printed Cat Leg forum thread on 3DPB.com.

[Images: Fergus Fullarton Pegg, via Telegraph]

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