Specialists from Universidad del Valle de México Create First 3-D Printed Prosthesis for a Dog in Mexico

Specialists from the veterinary hospital at Universidad del Valle de México (UVM) have placed the first 3-D printed prosthesis in Mexico on a dog. The prosthesis is a unique design that will allow the dog, Romina, a Galgo Whippet from Mérida, to move naturally. She lost her two front legs in an accident in 2013. She was initially provided with a titanium replacement for her left leg, while her right leg was amputated. The metal did not permit natural movement and placed too much pressure on the titanium replacement leg, which led to other issues.

Romina arrived to the UVM Veterinary Hospital under the care of Dr. Santiago García Pasquel for rehabilitation caused by the unbalance of only having one front leg. Dr. García Pasquel worked with Beremiz Sánchez, a specialist in orthopedics from the veterinary hospital and Francisco León, a visual artist, for six months to research the creation of prototype legs. They needed to find the right materials and create the right articulation system for Romina.

They started with two prototypes, one made from a polycarbonate and the other from Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), which are each about three times less costly than materials normally used for prostheses. The system is mechanically articulated and easy to repair and replace. They confirmed that if Romina were to chew her leg, parts of it could be replaced within several hours; if it were to be completely destroyed they would need 24 hours.

Romina will now undergo a period of rehabilitation to get used to the prosthesis at the university’s veterinary hospital. At the same time the university specialists will work to develop a synthetic skin that matches her own and that can be used to cover the new device. The specialists believe that with the technology they have created, they will soon be able to create prostheses for other species, like turtles or crocodiles.