Pune, 9th August 2020: In a one-of-a-kind case, the artificial leg will soon help a cow walk on all fours. A three-legged cow from Chaufula near Pune has been gifted an artificial leg on August 2.
The weak-looking abandoned cow was rescued by shelter home for animals in Chaufula. The villagers then approached the prosthetic and orthotics department of Sancheti Hospital in Pune, which makes artificial limbs for humans. The department readily accepted to take up the challenge to make an artificial leg for cow and carry out the treatment free of cost.
Salil Jain, head of prosthetics and orthotics department of Sancheti Hospital, said, “We took measurements for the leg around two weeks back. My team studied the anatomy of the cow and then prepared the design for the leg. Designing for heavy animals is more difficult. The cow is able to stand and is walking slowly now. But it will take at least a month for her to get adjusted with the artificial leg. Also, we are monitoring her movements and progress with the new leg.”
Amar Jagtap, a farmer from a nearby village, who took an initiative to approach the hospital, said, “I often visit the shelter home for animals in Chaufula village. When I saw the cow she was very weak and she was having difficulty in walking too. After seeing her unfortunate situation, I thought of approaching the hospital. Other, villagers also supported me. Now, we all are examining the cow daily. We are informing about her daily movements to the hospital staff. I want to see her fit and walking with her four legs.”
When asked about how difficult it is to perform the procedure on animals, Jain said, “Performing it on the animal is like doing it for a child. The animals cannot talk with you. You have to observe the animal for hours to see whether the animal has accepted the artificial limb or not and what kind of difficulties it is facing while walking. There is a need for more research in the field of prosthetics for animals. With such cases, we would be able to do more research and we can then perform them on more such needy animals in the future.”
According to the team, the animal will take around a month’s time to adapt well to its new limb and to be able to walk freely without any discomfort. Experts informed that some sporadic experiments in different corners of the country by some handful individuals are going on in India to experiment about such prosthetic on animals.
Parag Sancheti, Chairman of Sancheti Institute of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Pune, said, “Prosthetic are quite common on humans, they are very rarely performed on animals. Prosthetics for heavy animals is an uncommon thing and challenging task. Many trials and errors are needed for performing it on the animal. Around two years back, we had done it on the donkey with three legs. When we got success with the donkey, this year we voluntarily did it to help cow. We wish to help more animals with similar issues.”
Meanwhile, many animal rights activists have commended the hospital’s voluntary act. The activists mentioned that more and more research should be done to make prosthetics for animals. Manilal Valliyate, CEO of PETA India, which is an animal right organization, said, “We commend the hospital to extend the care for animals too. Prosthetic legs are tricky for large, heavy animals. Care must be taken to ensure it can suitably balance weight, However, this cow has many wellwishers and so it appears that care will be extended to ensure her comfort. More such initiatives are needed in the country to ensure care for animals.”