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Derrick Campana and three-legged mini horse with prosthetic leg

Derrick Campana kneels beside Angel Marie, a three-legged mini horse who wears a prosthetic leg made by Campana, at Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Va., March 27, 2017. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Virginia's 'Dr. Doolittle' gives amputee animals new lease on life

Angel Marie the pony was stepped on by her mother shortly after she was born. Her front legs were so severely damaged, she was too crippled to walk.

It was a challenge Derrick Campana, the so-called “Dr. Doolittle” of Animal prosthetics, was ready to tackle. The certified orthotist at Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Va., fashioned prosthetic front legs using highly durable, medical grade plastics.

He says watching Angel Marie take her first steps was emotional. “Seeing her walk, and having her here today walking is just a dream come true. A miracle.”

Owner Lennie Green credits Campana with saving Angel Marie’s life. “The kids just love her to death. And she loves kids. It’s really a great thing. The prosthetics, if it wasn’t for that she wouldn’t have made it.”

Campana started his career in making orthotics for humans, and saw a niche for helping animals. He’s become a go-to in the industry globally — he’s fashioned a prosthetic limb for an elephant in Thailand that had its front foot blown off by a land mine.

While he is not a veterinarian, Campana says his practice is a cost-effective alternative to more invasive procedures at the vet.

The future in prosthetics, he says, is likely in 3D printing, which he says is costly now, but may become more affordable in years to come, which will give furry pals near and far, a leg up in life. (Reuters)

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