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Derrick Campana, President and C.E.O. of Animal Orthocare in Virginial has dedicated his life to helping animals by building custom made prosthetics.  To date he has helped more than 15,000 animals in this way and around 90% of them are domestic dogs.

So animal friends, ‘brace’ yourself whilst we look into the work of Campana who is one of the world’s most experienced in this field.  His workshop is filled with sewing machines, vacuum tubes and ovens amongst an array of molding materials like plastic, plaster and foam.  He studied human prosthetics and orthotics but changed direction to helping animals because of his love for them and being able to recognize a need in the market.

Sometimes dogs sustain an injury or need amputation. Others are born with a deformity, spine trouble or without a leg or paw.  Their lives can be shortened significantly when movement is painful or limited.  We’ve seen all types of modes fashioned in the past to help such dogs such as the rear-end trolley, but modern-day orthotics, materials and the invention of the 3D printer have taken design to a new level. Now prosthetics for this purpose can be made in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the original cost.

Derrick Campana admits that although he’d love to help every patient presented, it is not always possible. Although the artificial limbs can be more affordable than a costly surgery, he weighs up the benefit to the animal carefully in his mind. If he cannot make a safe and functional prosthesis, he will not go ahead no matter how much the animal’s owner presses him.  For example, amputations to the front leg, elbow or higher can make it extremely difficult to achieve a satisfactory result.  If he feels the man-made limb may hurt the animal, he will not do it but Campana knows he has found his calling (giving animals their lives back) and says it’s a job he will do until for the rest of his life.  Amongst his largest works were two Asian elephants who Derrick declares were the most compliant patients of all, holding their legs out for him while he began their cast.

For a closer look at Derrick’s work click the link below…


Leah & Angela O’Meara

Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)