Prosthetic legs for horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-08-2011, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Prosthetic legs for horses

So I was stumbling the internet when I came across a video of a mini who was given a prosthetic leg. Personally I think it's a great idea! If dogs and cats and such don't need to be put down because of loosing a leg, it's nice to know it can work for a horse to. Like they said, there's no guarantee on anything, but it's nice to know there can be an option for the horses life to continue on with quality (Of course nothing could be done with the horse, but the same kind of quality of life you would get from say a cat or dog.). What are your opinions? If anything happened to your horse would you consider this? What kind of health problems or underlying issues could you see coming from this?

Here's a video (I love his little bucks <3)
BBC News - Minature horse fitted with prosthetic leg
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-08-2011, 03:06 PM
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This brought tears to my eyes, seriously bawling now! Why can they make
performance prosthetics for humans but not for horses? I see the need, know
there is the money out there, who wouldn't pay serious money for one if the
horse was particularly valuable or at least very loved? I would do it in a

I don't know of the health concerns but that little guy is having the time of his

Maybe there is hope? Thanks for posting!
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-08-2011, 03:09 PM
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This just made my day - thanks for sharing!
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-08-2011, 03:18 PM
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This is so cute. I think it's amazing how he's been given a complete new lease of life, the video said he would have had to be euthanised otherwise, and look at how happy he looks!

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post #5 of 13 Old 10-08-2011, 03:28 PM
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I work in the prosthetic industry and there is a company that will make prosthetics for animals, i think the guy is based in Chicago if i remember rightly.
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-08-2011, 07:23 PM
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That is neat. They've done it for horses, elephants, dogs and cats... I think it's cool. we just watched that movie the dolphin tale. I was so amazed. It was really cool. Who would have ever thought they could give a dolphin a prosthetic tale?

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post #7 of 13 Old 10-08-2011, 07:40 PM
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There is also the story of Molly, the little mare that lost her front leg during the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe.

I am sure that someday, prosthetics for animals may be as common as they are for people, but right now, the cost is prohibitive for most people. Not everyone has $8,000-$10,000 to spend on what is, truthfully, a very risky operation and rehab procedure. Especially for a horse that would spend the rest of their life as a pasture ornament that required serious daily care.

ETA: I'm not sure that it would ever really be a practical idea for anything much bigger than a small pony. Even Molly is clearly in pain while trying to walk on it and anything much larger than her would have a very serious risk of foundering the opposing foot (like Barbaro) unless they were able to wear the prosthetic 24/7 and be comfortable enough to bear weight on it like they would if they were relatively sound.

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Last edited by smrobs; 10-08-2011 at 07:45 PM. Reason: another thought...
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-08-2011, 09:25 PM
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I think a lot of it also depends on how much residual limb is left, same with people. Anything off above the knee is always more work, i think if the horse had a functioning knee joint and was fitted with something comfortable and monitored daily they could get along alright.

i have to say though whatever the cost if Phoenix needed a prosthetic i would more than happily get him one (i'd probably be the one making it for him)
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-08-2011, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Glad I shared this.

Phoenix: Oh neat~ :P It always makes me think how much work must go into making a prosthetic limb for someone. Esspecially once you get into creating hands for people and such (more detail), with having to learn the proper anatomy (I find anatomy like bone and muscle structure quite fascinating for some reason. I guess it's just knowing how one is built and works.). I thought he might be out of Canada as there were some people complaining they couldn't see it cause they were in the US so I'm glad it went through.

Smorbs: She does look to be in some pain, I suppose it would really just depend on the horse. I would make sure it got some pain relief with some form of supplement/meds. In another way I guess it's like having to always use a crutch, it's doable but would get irritated after a while of having to use it.
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-08-2011, 10:07 PM
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I wouldn't do it.
Problems? Sores, infection, laminitis in the other foot, pain, limited ability to move (think spooks or moving quickly for a variety of reasons), housing, ground & surface precautions, frequent prosthetic changes, difficult farrier work, lifetime special cares.
I work with people who use prosthetics & they frequently have problems. The main difference is a person can use crutches or other assistive devices & can tell another what is going on.
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