Tucker, a five-year-old Australian sheepdog, can run on four feet again thanks to a 3D printed prosthetic paw. The hope is that the paw prosthetic will improve Tucker’s mobility and his quality of life.
This is yet another story of how 3D printing can help animals. This time around, Tucker, a five-year-old Australian sheepdog, received a 3D printed paw prosthetic.
Tucker was born without several bones in his hind foot. Sadly, this was the reason for his lack of home before Kendra Earl Warlow adopted him. However, she adds that nothing stops him and he’s always happy to run around the yard with her other Australian sheepdog.
Even so, Warlow worries about how to manage Tucker’s pain. He is on multiple pain medications and there is potential that his missing paw will lead to problems in the future.
In order to manage this and hopefully help Tucker out, Warlow got in touch with the Mizzou 3D Printing Club. She had the idea to do this when seeing the club use 3D printers in the library last year.
Since then, Tucker has been trying out prosthetics and adapting to them quickly. The team created different iterations based on a cast from the Australian sheep dog’s leg to see which will fit best.
Fitting Tucker with a Prosthetic Paw
For the past year, a team of seven people has been working with Tucker and Marlow. They’ve managed to create a 3D printed prosthetic which they hope will improve Tucker’s quality of life.
For the latest prosthetic, the team used blue PLA filament and adjusted the form to fit Tucker better. However, they’re still working on the design to come up with the best possible fit – they explain that simple is better.
The aim is always to get Tucker to distribute his weight and put more pressure on the prosthetic. Interestingly, for the latest iteration, the team used a rubber ball for the bottom of the foot which Tucker took to.
However, despite the positive results, this isn’t the end for Tucker. The team will continue to work on finding the best possible prosthetic for the Australian sheepdog. In the meantime, he’s happy to run and play with his latest 3D printed design.