There is something new about 3D Printing, somethingthat’s changing the way we look and approach problems. It’s common tohear newsabout the benefits that we, the Homo sapiens get from this technology. But it’s very rare to hear that an animal lover, Andrea Martin spends around $2,500 on a prosthetic Limb that too for a hen named Cicely. 3D Printed Prosthetic Hands and legs for humans and even for four-legged dogs like Hobbes is a hot topic in the medical circles, but successful surgery of Hen Cicely will change the medical dimensions in every possible manner.
Hen Cicely, currently living on the Black Thistle Farm, about 45 miles West of Boston, tore a tendon in her right leg and was fortunate to have an owner, who is alsoa poultry behaviourist and aspecialist in chicken rehabilitation. ‘It slipped out of position, and the leg becomes useless’, explained the owner. Unlike most of the poultry breeders who would have handed over this hen to the KFC Kitchen, Andrea’s love for her flock made her to take this chicken to the Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine for a check-up, after which she had two options: either to go for a custom prosthetics or to put the bird to rest.
‘It was a no-brainer,’ Andrea reported, who was also into news last year for making a payout of $3,000 for the hysterectomy process on another bird. On being asked about the $2,500 bill payment, Andrea quoted, ’She needs to be able to live a normal life. Anytime you do surgery on a bird, it’s a risk. But I am optimistic. I think this will make her very happy. It’s worth it’.
The first of its kind surgery will take place at the same University under the guidance of Dr. Emi Knafo, Avian orthopaedics specialist, who first plans to amputate the useless leg before taking a CT scan for the remaining leg. Explaining the condition, the doctor said, ‘The foot tendons contract in an abnormal place. It puts them at risk for sores and infections, and the choices were euthanasia, or try to manage it with pain medication. It could be an uncomfortable life. But as a veterinarian, we always try to evaluate and intervene in a positive way’. Asked in regards with the medical abnormalities that could arise during the whole process, the optimistic doctor replied, ‘You just don’t know if it will work until after it’s done,’ stating that Cicely will go home after two weeks post operation, while the prosthetics will be 3D Printed in the mean time.3D Printing the prosthetic part is pretty straight-forward, instead the surgery seems to be a bit tricky, with the anesthesia being the most dangerous part.
The doctor has had previous experiences operating other animals, but this is the first time that she will be working on a chicken. ‘People would think twice about it (the procedure) for another kind of animal. We want to give her as much of a pain-free life as possible.’
Andrea, on the other hand, is quite hopeful. She is already into plans for writing up the whole experience for a children’s book.