Animals need prosthetic limbs too. And 3D printing could be the answer. It was for one kitten named Sonic whose abnormal leg prevented him from walking. Now he’s learning to walk without dragging his leg, thanks to a unique collaboration between the Denver Animal Shelter and the Art Institute of Colorado, according to the Denver Post.
The goal is to provide custom prosthetics for animals using 3D printing. And Sonic the kitten was the first beneficiary since the two groups began working together in April, according to the Denver Post. He needed some tasty cat food to encourage him to move. But Sonic took his first steps using his the bionic paw on Wednesday while anxious students and shelter workers looked on. Sonic was born with an orthopedic deformity in his right limb, according to ABC News, which aired the story. His attempts to walk on the leg would only cause more damage and open a wound.
The prosthetic paw is an alternative to amputation, said Louisa Poon, the shelter veterinarian. Cats like Sonic are not considered adoptable and are typically euthanized. The spirited black kitten presented an opportunity to test out the 3D printing, which could save the lives of dozens of animals with similar deformities. “So hopefully we can learn from this and we can make them adoptable again,” said Poon.