Derby was born with a deformity that affected his two front legs, which end just past the elbow joint and have no paws. Though he still could move using the remaining portions of his legs, he was forced to move in a slumped position with his head towards the ground. Needless to say, walking was tough and vigorous, and playful running was out of the question. Following his adoption from Peace and Paws Rescue, Tara Anderson of 3D Systems wanted to help Derby live a more healthy life using the technology and the talented staff of the 3D printing company.
To help improve his gait, Anderson and her colleagues from 3D Systems used their 3D-printing expertise to develop a set of prosthetic legs that allowed Derby to walk and even run in a more comfortable position. The disc-shaped prosthetic was designed to keep him in a semi-slumped position, allowing him time to get used to wearing the legs while still keeping his unusual, yet familiar, gait.
Though practical for the interim, the short legs were not an ideal long-term solution for the dog. After testing several designs, version two of the prosthetics increased the length of the legs using a figure-eight design. The new prosthetic legs evened out Derby’s posture, giving him a straight back and approximately equal-length legs. Going forward, Derby can walk and run with minimal strain on his back. He even can sit, something his disability previously prevented him from doing.
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