He will put them on all fours. Czech companies are involved in the production of dog prostheses using 3D printing

Source: Fillamentum
  • The Czech company Fillamentum has decided to participate in the German project Pawthesis, which deals with 3D printing of prosthetic limbs for dogs

  • Thanks to modern technologies, artificial dog paws are more accessible and are particularly suitable for animals suffering from plaque prolapse or arthritis.

  • In the Czech Republic, animal carts and orthoses are produced by the startup AnyGo, which will print prostheses for people in the future.

He will put them on all fours. The Czech company Fillamentum has decided to participate in the development of prostheses for pet dogs that have had a hot plate or have been affected by arthritis in old age. Artificial limbs for dogs are the domain of the German project Pawthesis, supported by Simon Schuß and Dominik Hogen, who manufacture replacement paws using 3D printing. And it is thanks to modern technology that Fillamentum will help them to make these prostheses more accessible.

The story of Pawthesis began to be written at the University of Augsburg, where the two students attended a seminar on 3D printers. Like many others, they had lots of creative ideas in class to use. But while others dreamed of the aerospace or automotive industries, Schuß and Hogen focused on veterinary medicine and decided to start printing artificial packs for dogs that had to be amputated due to illness or disease. a wound. The project inspired them by building their bachelor’s theses, and later even interrupted their master’s studies so that they could devote themselves fully to it.

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“We focus on dogs because animals like cats can better compensate for the loss of a limb. There are more amputated dogs in the world than any other affected animal,” explains the young engineer’s focus. even dogs in the world that have all four artificial legs.

natural movement

As modern technologies are only sporadically used to treat animals in Europe, including Germany, the duo received an EXIST grant from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy last year. At Pawthesis, each prosthesis is custom made, but thanks to the use of the 3D printers mentioned, it does not take much time, nor cost huge sums. After the artificial leg is completed, it attaches to the dog’s body, which helps it distribute the weight well when walking – lameness after amputation otherwise these animals that walk three times continue to curl the skeleton and cause hernia disc disease or arthritis mentioned above.

To prevent this from happening, the manufacture of each paw is preceded by an X-ray of the dog and a modeling on the computer. However, the Pawthesis would soon like to create a set according to which it will be possible to model the prosthesis only on the basis of a footprint, so that the owners do not have to travel with a sick animal.

“The prosthetic part must have a certain flexibility to adapt at all times to the movements of the dog and ensure its natural freedom. At the same time, however, it must be stable and robust enough to support the weight of the animal, “explain Shuß and Hogen. This requires the prosthesis to be elastically constructed. And because we know dogs, they must also be durable and resistant to all kinds of dirt, abrasion and canine weather.

Hi tech package

The use of quality materials goes without saying. And it was thanks to them that the representatives of Pawthesis turned to the Czech company Fillamentum. Flexfill TPU 98A, a 98 Shore A thermoplastic polyurethane, is a semi-elastic technical fiber that offers excellent mechanical properties such as high tensile and tensile strength.

Dogs with leg amputations often have health problems due to uneven distribution of body weight. Photo: Fillamentum

“Because the prostheses are mainly used outdoors, the resistance to wind and sunlight is also a decisive point for their selection. Fillamentum’s Flexfill TPU 98A meets all these requirements and offers a wide range of colors. Thanks to this, the animal can have a limb similar to its natural shade, “add the founders of Pawsthesis, specifying that the hi-tech 3D fibers produced by the world leader in their field are also completely recyclable. After all , this is one of the reasons why Fillamentum distributes them in 64 countries around the world.

It won’t hurt anymore…

In addition to Fillament, there are naturally other companies in the Czech Republic specializing in the issue of dog and animal prostheses and other medical devices. One of the most famous is AnyGo from Brno, whose history is very similar to the German Pawthesis.

The startup was founded by industrial designer Jan Jiránek and technology enthusiasts Martin Schenk and Ivan Lukáš. Everyone was into 3D printing and wondering how they could benefit someone. They had the same idea as their German colleagues, and within a week they realized that they would start making prostheses for four-legged animals. It mainly offers aids for dogs, but some of them are also suitable for cats.

In any case, instead of making artificial legs, they took a different route – they focused on designing a cart for animals with paralyzed hind legs. The dog lies on it and then pulls the rear half of the body behind it with its front legs. AnyGo is often approached by shelters wanting wheelchairs for abused animals who face lifelong consequences of abuse.

Evolution or revolution?

In the past, the company managed to establish cooperation with the Association of Animal Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation of the Czech Republic, so that it has professional feedback on its products. And if everything goes according to plan, the production of animal prostheses will not jump at all.

“Unique products for people will also follow. For anyone who needs a prosthetic device, not only mass-produced, but also custom-developed. The 3D printing technology associated with the products we manufacture is exceptional and we We see a big place for it in the market,” Schenk suggests. But since there are months of prototyping and consulting behind every new product, we can definitely expect 3D-printed human limbs.

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So far, the company has managed to gain a foothold in the Czech and Slovak markets, where it has virtually no competition. According to Schenek, the local has a potential of the order of tens of millions of crowns. Yet their five-member team is already slowly expanding into Europe and overseas, back and forth, to the United States and faraway Japan. In addition, entrepreneurs want to move part of the production to sheltered workshops so that disabled people can participate in prostheses for disabled animals.

The company currently offers four sizes of carts and orthotics. In addition, it also meets individual needs, such as front foot carts or bandages and feeding bowls. But the main issue hanging in the air is the use of veterinary experience in producing medical devices for people from recyclable, custom-made plastics. “Thanks to new technologies and our experience, they will bring not only an evolution, but rather a revolution”, thinks Schenk.

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