PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Saving animals with prosthetics — a new age kind of rescue. A team trained at Thomas Jefferson University is helping all kinds of animals with injuries and birth defects.
This is a revolutionary kind of prosthetic artificial limbs and much more created by a dream team that started right here in Philadelphia.READ MORE: 2nd Street Festival Bringing Beer Gardens, Food Trucks, And Live Music To Northern Liberties For 1st Time In 2 Years
“He’s my best friend,” veterinarian tech Lydia Mindek said. “We pretty much do everything together.”
Mindek says her dog, Trip, is able to do everything thanks to his prosthetic leg.
“For a dog who’s never been able to walk on his own before, it’s a really big deal,” Mindek said.
Trip, who was born with deformities, was saved from being euthanized by Mindek, who knew exactly who could help.
“We always knew we wanted to solve meaningful problems,” Alex Tholl said
Adam Hecht and Tholl met Mindek when they were all studying industrial design at Thomas Jefferson. Hecht and Tholl went on to create DiveDesign, which makes prosthetics for all kinds of animals.
This is Wattles, a pet duck outfitted with a prosthetic leg and foot, for the first time walking normally.
“It was just amazing to see him just take off running,” said Adam Hecht with DiveDesign.
Hecht and Tholl are giving second chances to an array of animals — a pig with missing legs is outfitted with wheels now and a goat named Beau has a helmet to protect a missing part of his skull.
“So he definitely needed the helmet,” Hecht said. “I mean, he was head-butting everything.”
Hecht and Tholl create animal prosthetics using specialized 3D printing technology.READ MORE: CBS3 Pet Project: Do Dogs Get Jealous? What You Should Know Ahead Of National Spoil Your Dog Day
“It’s the combination of technologies that really make a difference,” Tholl said.
It starts with a mold of the animal that gets customized with an algorithm for a comfortable fit then a 3D printer is able to create a variety of different devices.
“It’s really flexible where it needs to be,” Tholl said, “where the rib cages, where they are breathing and moving, it flexes.”
This is Jango, born with deformed hindlegs that made moving difficult, here outfitted with prosthetic wheels that function like back legs.
There are plenty of adorable dogs with new fake parts now able to move easier and play.
The team even helped a tortoise who now has wheels replacing his missing front legs.
“We always knew we wanted to solve meaningful problems,” Tholl said.
Their plan was hatched at Thomas Jefferson University.
“This has just been an amazing journey for us,” Tholl said, “helping so many animals and people and families. You almost become speeches because of how wonderful it is. It’s not necessarily because we absolutely love animals or we absolutely love prosthetics, it’s just we enjoy solving really great problems.”
Hecht and Tholl, who work in North Jersey, also help other companies create bionic parts for animals. The more challenging, the better they say.MORE NEWS: 9 Wounded In Shooting Outside Cincinnati Bar, Police Say
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