Animal orthopedist Wesley Michiels from Pet Orthopedics from Nijlen has made a grow-along prosthesis for alpaca foal Oracle from Geluwe in West Flanders. The lower part of the forelimb was amputated a few weeks ago below the wrist joint. It is already the third prosthetic leg that Wesley has made for an alpaca.
Until recently, Pet Orthopedics was located on Bisschoppenhoflaan in Deurne. “I worked there as an employee, but have now taken over the company and moved it to Grobbendonkseweg in Nijlen,” says Wesley Michiels. “We already lived in Nijlen. This makes it easier for my friend Elisabeth Biront, who used to help me but stopped due to circumstances, to work in the practice again.”
Pet Orthopedics is known for its prosthetics, bandages, but also wheelchair walkers that it makes for animals with disabilities. From the distant Geluwe in West Flanders, Wesley was asked by an alpa vet, a veterinarian specialized in alpacas, to make a grow-along prosthesis for a baby alpaca. Alpacas are quite sensitive to bone infections, which means that amputations have to be done more often.
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“In this case, Oracle, a two-month-old alpaca stallion, had the lower part of the front leg amputated down to the wrist joint. So the hoof is missing. If he continues to walk on that shorter leg, the stump will always open again. Moreover, it will also walk crookedly, which can lead to other physical discomforts. Oracle is a stallion with good genes. He can live a perfect alpaca-worthy life with a prosthesis. But because he is still a foal, we opted for a grow-along prosthesis that can be adapted to the socket, among other things.”
Wesley drove to Geluwe once for a fitting and then a second time to confirm the prosthesis. “In the beginning they always walk a bit clumsily, because they have to get used to it, but that will work out fine. Commissioned by this alpa vet, who also has an alpaca breeding farm in Geluwe, it is already the third prosthesis I have made for an alpaca. In 2016 I already made a leg prosthesis for his mare Verona. She has had two more foals. The other alpaca with a prosthesis also became a mother.”
Wesley Michiels will soon have a very special assignment to do, more about that later.