CHICAGO (CBS) – Joliet Junior College students take on the challenge to create a prosthetic device for a professor’s dog.
Professor Mike Brncick presented his students in the JJC’s Orthotics and Prosthetics Technology program with the challenge, WBBM’s Mike Krauser reports.
“A professor in the Veterinary Technology department has a dog that is missing a front foreleg,” said Brncick. “I was wondering if we could do anything about it.”
Wolf is a 3-year-old German Shepherd-Labrador mix. When he was only 3-months old, he shattered his elbow, causing him to receive a high front foreleg amputation, said Eileen McKee, a veterinary technology professor at JJC.
JJC students and Professor Brncick are working on giving Wolf a prosthetic device to help him walk better.
“Wolf can run fairly well, because this happened when he was only about 3-months old. He’s about 3 years now, so he has adapted very well,” Brncick said. “But walking seems to really ware the dog out. So we are focusing on walking.”
Students created several designs using the school technology, including 3D-printing. The challenge comes with dog’s high-level amputation, because there is no stump. Brncick compared Wolf’s situation to a human losing his/her leg up to the hip level. Control of a prosthesis is more difficult, Brncick said.
“We had to take an impression of the dog’s chest area, so we could have a socket or an attachment,” Brncick said.
Last week, JCC students presented Wolf with two devices for him to try out. They observed his movements, taking pictures, video and notes.
The hard part for the students is trying to figure out what would work best for the dog, Brncick said.
Brncick also took a scan of Wolf’s sound front leg, to later reverse the image and use it to create a device for his missing leg.
The students are continuing to make possible devices that will both look like a leg and be functional.
Brncick is confident they will be able to help Wolf.