Pets & Prosthetics: Disabled animals gaining mobility

Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) - Pets & prosthetics is a new concept in the Chippewa Valley that's giving disabled animals a better outlook on life.

The business is called "Forward Custom Design" and is based in Eau Claire out of Winkley Orthotics-Prosthetics. The idea came from three men who combined have around 60 years of experience.

Thanks to their efforts, disabled animals are remembering how to walk.

"Scooter is one of our 3 disabled shepards,” said Danica Lowry of Bob’s House for Dogs.

Life for Scooter at Bob's House for Dogs isn't an easy one when it comes to walking.

"When he walks he basically drags his hind quarters so he has callus’s that will break open and bleed from his stumps in the back,” said Lowry.

With creativity in mind, the team at Forward Custom Design developed a sled to help Scooter "scoot" around with ease. But how did the business start?

"15 years ago I made a little leg for a goat so that was kind of a little starting point, when this came up yea let's get into this,” said Terry Kufner, Forward Custom Design.

For numerous years Terry, Mike and Traiden have designed prosthetics for people. But for the past year, they've helped 30-40 four legged friends.

"We've received numerous phone calls over the years asking us to do this sort of thing,” said Mike Antonson, Forward Custom Design.

"When the animal comes in, basically we assess what the animal is going to need, which types of brace we’re going to make,” said Kufner.

"It was a nice extension off of what we do. It's nice to be able to see the look on the owner's faces when they see their animal walking again,” said Traiden Oleson.

But how do they form a brace for a disabled cat or dog?

“We'll all take a cast together and once the cast is taken, we have to take a positive mold out of that, which is filled with plaster,” said Kufner.

"So we just fill in any gaps in any areas that may need a buildup," said Antonson.

So once the cast is vacuum formed it goes to get sanded and finished after sanding. The joints are added and you get the final product

"This is going to allow flection but it’s not going to allow forward moving this way,” said

But some take a little bit more creativity like this one.

"Bruiser was a bulldog that was born with a defect called elbow dysplasia, meaning the front two legs were not working properly,” said Oleson.

So a Scooter with wheels was made.

"Instead of either putting the pet down or an expensive surgery, this just gives them another resource,” said Antonson.

Winkley Orthotics-Prosthetics is located at 2115 Craig Rd Eau Claire, WI 54701

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