Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
JB Speed School of Engineering
Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)
BACKGROUND AND SIGINIFICANCE: Few options exist for companion animals in need of prosthetic devices. With the rise of rapid prototyping technology, the availability and customization of prosthetic devices for individual companion animals is now a viable and cost effective alternative to the current options of a peg leg prosthetic, or wheel-assisted prosthetic device. The goals of this study were to describe the (1) specific needs and (2) biomechanics of a feline with bilateral thoracic limb amputation, (3) develop custom prosthetic devices utilizing rapid prototyping technology, and (4) describe the biomechanics of a feline with bilateral thoracic limb amputation using the custom prosthetic devices. The feline being studied in this project is a 2 year old Maine Coon feline weighing 9 lbs. She was a stray that was found with severe frostbite on her thoracic limbs. These sections of her thoracic limbs were amputated to remove the necrotic tissue.
SPECIFIC AIMS: The goals of this study is to describe the (1) specific needs and (2) biomechanics of feline with bilateral thoracic limb amputation, (3) develop custom prosthetic devices utilizing rapid prototyping technology, and (4) describe the biomechanics of a feline with bilateral thoracic limb amputation with the use of the custom prosthetic devices.
MATERIALS & METHODS: Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology was utilized to fabricate the prosthetic devices that were designed and put through a Finite Element Analysis to simulate static loading and fatigue testing during various stages of the gait cycle. The devices were mechanically tested to ensure device failure did not occur during static loading, as well as fatigue tested to resemble continued use. vii Kinematic gait analysis was performed prior to and after use of the prosthetic devices, and outcomes were compared between the scenarios. Gait data was also compared to published feline gait data to determine any effects to the feline’s gait resulting from the amputation, and if this effect was corrected through the use of the prosthetic devices.
RESULTS: FDM was a cost effective way to fabricate strong, durable prosthetic devices designed specifically for a companion animal with dual thoracic limb amputation. Mechanical testing ensured that the prosthetic devices can survive over 10,000 loading cycles at 6 N, and 3000 N of vertical force. The gait analysis performed without the use of the prosthetic devices show increased flexion of the elbows, stifle, and tarsus joint during ambulation. Gait analysis during the use of the prosthetic devices removes this additional flexion.
CONCLUSION: Use of prosthetic devices can have a positive influence in the gait of companion animals with amputations. The comparison between the two data sets shows removal of the additional flexion found in the thoracic limbs when the prosthetic devices are used. This project showcases the feasibility of using additive manufacturing to create cost effect and durable prosthetic devices for use in companion animals.
Cahill, Benjamin Joseph, "Development and evaluation of custom prosthetic devices for a companion animal utilizing additive manufacturing." (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 2560.