Students of the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow have developed a prototype of a prosthesis that is to help Gray – a dog from Ukraine – in everyday functioning. The animal, after its front paw has been amputated, is doing quite well, but it is embarrassing for it. The design of the prosthesis still needs to be refined, but – as the constructors argue – the final version will allow Szary to even return to running.
“A cheerful and open-minded doggie who came to us from Ukraine. The lack of a part of the front paw does not prevent him from functioning, but you have to make sure that he is not overweight. He loves all people, he will not miss any opportunity to cuddle “- this is how a mongrel named Gray describes on their website the employees of the shelter in Krakow. The animal was brought to the shelter in April in one of the transports organized by volunteers evacuating animals from a war-torn country.
Students of materials engineering at the AGH University of Science and Technology, wanting to use the knowledge they had gained in a useful way, decided to help the dog in its daily functioning. After visiting the Krakow shelter, they designed and created a prototype of a prosthesis.
Shelter: We don’t know if the paw was amputated or torn off
Beata Nawalany, deputy manager of the Krakow shelter, in an interview with tvn24.pl emphasizes that a fragment of the Gray’s paw was removed “in a strange way”. – In Poland, limbs are amputated quite high, and in the case of the Gray one, there is even a bit of a fingertip. We do not know if the paw was amputated or torn off, but it is an old and healed injury, most likely not caused by military actions, said Nawalany.
A team of students, including Oskar Ausobsky, Paula Duda, Wojciech Malina and Szymon Wojciechowicz, has developed a prototype of a solution that will allow the daily functioning of the Gray to be radically changed – for the benefit.
“He will be able to walk normally, maybe even run”
The prosthesis has the shape of a tall – about two hand lengths – cup with a flat base. The indentation at the top is designed to fit the stump and allow the movement of the artificial limb, which consists of four parts and has been 3D printed using a thermoplastic polymer and a UV curable resin.
Gray has already tried on the prototype, but it still requires a few corrections.
– We are constantly working on modifying the hitch. Unfortunately, during the first try-on, it turned out that the prosthesis did not fit completely. It was supposed to stick to the Velcro. However, it turned out that it did not fulfill the role, the prosthesis was falling off all the time. We are now looking for a different solution – told us one of the authors of the project, Szymon Wojciechowicz. The student emphasized that the team would soon make a cast of the dog’s paw to best match the prosthesis to the needs of the Gray.
According to Wojciechowicz, thanks to the prosthesis, Gray will again “be able to walk normally, and maybe even run”. Before this happens, however, the mongrel needs physical therapy. – At this point you can clearly see that he is missing this paw, he is moving his stump, he has problems with keeping the balance, especially with faster movements – says Wojciechowicz.
Hundreds of animals for adoption
According to the representatives of the shelter in Krakow, Gray – like hundreds of other dogs and cats – is waiting for new owners. At the beginning of summer vacation, the hut is bursting at the seams. 220 cats and 386 dogs are waiting for adoption. – This number is much higher than usual, last year we had about 200 dogs in a similar period. The main reason for the large number of dogs in the shelter is the decline in the number of adoptions, moreover, animals from Ukraine had additional procedures, which artificially prolonged their adoption – says Nawalany.
According to the deputy head of the shelter, people less often than usual to decide on adoptions due to the ongoing holiday season, but also due to the fact that inflation prices for animal products and veterinary services.
The list of animals waiting for adoption can be checked on the website of the Krakow shelter for homeless animals.
Main photo source: Krakow Shelter for Homeless Animals