Pune hospital gifts artificial limb to three-legged donkey

Prosthetic and orthotics department of Sancheti Hospital is designing a prosthetic leg for the animal rescued by a charitable trust

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In a one-of-a-kind case, a Jaipur foot will soon help a donkey walk on all fours. The three-legged animal was rescued from Dhule district in Maharashtra by RESQ Charitable Trust in Pune around two months ago.

The volunteers of the trust found the donkey struggling to walk on three legs. She tried to move ahead by bending on her knees which had led to dislocation of her shoulder. After making inquiries, the trust approached prosthetic and orthotics department of Sancheti Hospital in Pune, which makes artificial limbs for humans. The department readily accepted to take up the challenge and carry out the treatment free of cost.

Salil Jain, head of prosthetic and orthotics department of Sancheti Hospital, said, “We took measurements for the leg on Tuesday and the prosthetics will be fitted by Friday (October 13, 2017). My team studied the anatomy of donkey and then prepared the design for leg. We are ready to make similar artificial limbs for animals in future.” This artificial leg will be made of wood and high density poly-propylene material.

When asked about how difficult it is to perform the procedure on animals, Jain said, “Performing it on animal is like doing it for a child. You have to observe the animal for hours to see whether the animal has accepted the artificial limb or not and what kind of difficulties it is facing while walking. Many trials and errors are needed for performing it on animal.”

Neha Panchamiya, founder of RESQ Charitable Trust, said, “Since last 10 years we have been rescuing animal, who have suffered some accident and lost their limbs. We have been looking for options since long on how to help such animals. Once this is done, we are also going to help two legged dog which is at our care with such prosthetic.”

Dr Rohit Joseph, veterinary doctor from Pune, who was also involved in designing the prosthetic for donkey, said, “Designing for heavy animals is more difficult. One must take care of that the posture is proper while taking measurements or else it will harm the animal by causing other kinds of pain. Also, weight and balancing should be properly studied.”

Veterinary doctors shared that when such prosthetic are quite common on humans, they are very rarely performed on animals. They also informed that some sporadic experiments in different corners of country by some handful individuals are going on in India to experiment about such prosthetic on animals.