If you’re like me, you know that the real purpose of the internet is to share stories about animals. Whether it’s teeny puppies just learning how to howl or touching moments between a caregiver and an aging pooch, it’s easy to not get nearly enough work done while enjoying the web presence of our four-legged friends. Combine animals and 3D printing and you’ve got a whole other level of distraction opportunities.
Maggie the dog provides just such a moment for learning about 3D printing and enjoying a heart-warming animal story, even if it begins in tragedy. When Maggie was found back in August by Nicole Thibeau, who runs the Kent County Animal Rescue, it could only be assumed that she had been hit by a car several weeks before. Thibeau described how she found Maggie:
“There was this dog coming to my left and she was dragging herself on her chest, pretty much on her front leg trying to come to us. Her eyes were just pleading for help. You could tell she was in real pain. Her front leg was broken and her back leg wasn’t functioning. The muscles had seize, the kneecap had moved and she was in immense pain, even under anesthetic, they were trying to move her leg and…you could tell she was in pain.”
After a visit to the vet, it was determined that one of her back legs would have to be amputated and that her front leg was affected by a nerve paralysis. After healing from her amputation, she was adopted by Michael Beattie and his wife, who are determined to give her the care and attention that she needs.
Like so many dogs before her, Maggie has adapted to life without her back leg. She runs, jumps, and plays on three legs, but as a result of the nerve damage in her front leg, there are concerns that she could hyper extend it and cause further damage to it or even injure her other two legs if she should have to compensate for the weakness of her damaged one. To prevent any further injuries, Beattie, himself a veterinarian, took Maggie to Dr. Francis Arsenault who determined that the best course of action would be to create a brace for her damaged front leg.
The custom fit leg brace was possible to create, by a Colorado-based company, thanks to 3D scanning and printing technology. The orthotic is light weight to allow her to move easily and, after an initial adjustment period, Maggie should be able to run, jump, and play without posing a risk to herself. Dr. Arsenault explained his hopes that this 3D printed brace will avoid the need to amputate her damaged front leg:
“[W]e’re doing [this] to try to protect the other two legs. It’s going to depend a lot on the owners to do the physio that they’re supposed to do. It’s going to be a long process. I think the owners are a real good fit for her because they’re ready and willing to do all that.”
Maggie does’t have time to feel sorry for herself, her buoyant personality and love of snuggles keep her busy…and now she’ll have the extra help she needs to continue being an active and enjoyable animal friend. Discuss this story in the 3D Printed Dog Leg Brace forum thread on 3DPB.com.[Source/Images: CTV Atlantic]
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