Alternative Uses for FIPS: Prosthetics for Horses

Written by DSI Staff
Dynamic Systems, Inc. Newsletter
Autumn/Winter 2002 Volume 10, Number 2

equine prosthetic developed using Liquid SunMate Foam-in-Place SeatingEquine Prosthetics, Inc. is a unique company that works to rehabilitate horses and dogs that have suffered traumatic limb injuries. They also specialize in corrective support for foals born with limb deformities. EPI is on the cutting edge in veterinary care. They welcome difficult medical challenges and provide innovative solutions to problems many others would deem irreparable. In many cases, they are able to give debilitated horses an extended active and healthy life.

Specializing in equine orthopedic devices, EPI works closely with veterinarians, using the latest techniques and the best materials to aid the healing process in the most effective way. Each device is custom-made and based on tested, successful designs currently used in human medicine. The purpose of the devices is to minimize rubs and sores while providing as much comfort and support as possible.

Roy Scudamore, certified prosthetist, Deborah Galt, licensed veterinary technician, and their team are dedicated to their clients. They teach owners about the special care involved when using orthopedic devices, and follow the progress of the animal’s health every step of the way, making adjustments as necessary. They are committed to keeping up with the latest changes and advances in prosthetic and orthotic care and regularly attend seminars, symposia, and continuing education classes.

EPI has been using Pudgee material with full leg braces. They believe that the skin protection Pudgee provides is a key element allowing corrective bracing to become a reality for horseowners. Unfortunately, the young horses are prone to play and bite with anything new, and the Pudgee tears under that kind of force. For this application, DSI technicians have been experimenting with a mesh material incorporated into the Pudgee to prevent it from tearing.

EPI has also been using the Liquid SunMate Foam-In-Place for their signature patient, Thor. Thor is a large grey thoroughbred gelding and EPI’s “poster child”. Thor suffered a severe injury to his leg which went untreated for many months. Severed tendons, bone infection and fracture eventually led to his lower hind fetlock, pastern joint and hoof forming a useless protruding appendage which could no longer bear weight. Thor’s miraculous path to recovery began when the Central Virginia Horse Protection Association rescued him from his abusive home and placed him in the capable hands of Ms. Galt. Several attempts to heal the leg eventually led her to try a prosthetic device. “Thor’s leg was so badly mangled that surgery was impossible,” she said. “Because Thor’s stump is so unusual, I am unable to use a silicone sleeve. Foam-In-Place works well because it is specialized. It also offers a little more impact resilience.”

Thor received the 2000 Hank Award from Rio Vista Products in the individual category for outstanding rescue work, and was Equifinity’s 2001 Horse of the Year. He now wears the same device that athletes in the Para-Olympic Games wear. He leads the same life as most other horses, grazing, bucking and playing outside. He regularly travels to 4-H groups, the Adventure Camp for amputee children, benefits for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, and the local Disability Awareness Day. He is a beautiful inspiration for children facing disabilities to see that anything is possible. EPI offers a truly unique and noble service for animals.

DSI products have been used in the medical industry for over 30 years. The potential for veterinary applications is exciting, especially when it would contribute to advances in treatment and give owners more options for improved care for their animals.

To learn more about EPI, visit their website.