Parrot Prosthetics

3-D Printers Help Rehabilitate Animals




Tinseltown/Shutterstock.com

Pete, a 34-year-old Amazon parrot, received a boot-like prosthesis made by a 3-D printer from a customized mold after his leg was ripped off by a fox. A day later, he was not only already starting to accept it, but also realized he could place his weight on it. “That in itself is revolutionary for a bird,” says Veterinarian LaToya Latney, service head and attending clinician of the Exotic Companion Animal Medicine and Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s Ryan Hospital, known as Penn Vet. “He gets it.”

In another case of an interspecies application of new medical technology, Lola, a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the most endangered species of marine turtle, suffered injuries so extensive that a flipper was amputated. Losing a limb can make it difficult for a turtle to avoid predators or chase after prey. At the Key West Aquarium, in Florida, Iok Wong, Samantha Varela and Vivian Liang, three recent engineering graduates from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Massachusetts, used their specialized skills and 3-D printing to create an effective, low-cost prosthetic turtle flipper.


This article appears in the August 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Climate Consensus

Scientists are warning that if humans don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically and maintain natural carbon sinks like forests within 10 years, the impact on Earth’s climate will be catastrophic.

Literacy Project

The singer celebrated her foundation’s donation of 100 million books to children around the world with a reading at the Library of Congress.

Plog On

Plogging, Sweden’s latest fitness craze, is catching on in Europe and the U.S., as joggers not only clean up trash but also burn more calories in the process.

Hyperloop Hyper-Speed

Plans are underway in Europe for a vacuum-tube mode of transport capable of zooming people and freight safely overland at 700 miles per hour.

Big Melt

A thaw over the tip of the planet this year warmed the surface of the North Pole as high as 35 degrees—a once-rare event that has occurred during four of the last five winters.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Natural Awakenings Launches New Health Network

Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp., whose signature Natural Awakenings magazines support sustainable, healthy living, has launched an innovative, cost-saving, green and healthy living network.

Change is Good Discussion

Change is Not A Four-Letter Word: Using Intuitive Skills To Navigate Life’s Challenges, is the title of a panel discussion to be held at the Edgar Cayce Holistic Center, in Des Plaines.

Learn to GrowWELL at Agricultural High School

The Chicago Public School Office of Student Health and Wellness is holding a morning of gardening and school wellness workshops from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., September 4, at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, to kick off the new school year.

Look for Realtors with the Green Designation

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has created a new Green Realtor designation and benefits program tailored for real estate agents.

Equitable Opportunity

Members of the women’s program participate in a multitude of activities, from workshops and classes in native plant identification to woodworking and chainsaw seminars with local arborist associations.

Find a New Beginning for Relationships

Helen Gitlevich will conduct a Right Relationship for You Intro class from 7 to 9 p.m., September 18, and a Right Relationship for You New Beginning class from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., September 19 and 20