- Published: Friday, 19 February 2021 11:47
- Written by Chris Tapper
- Hits: 660
A koala born with a missing foot has had his mobility restored thanks to a clinical dental technician.
New South Wales dental prosthetist Jon Doulman made a prosthetic foot for Triumph, a koala who was rescued after being found with his dying mother in 2017.
ABC News reported that vets found the missing foot was caused by a birth defect, which sometimes caused the koala pain.
His rescuer and vet nurse Marley Christian from Friends of the Koala began dressing Triumph’s stump with dolls’ socks and booties and found that it relieved the sensitivity.
But after contacting numerous specialist prosthetic companies worldwide, which were unable to help and told the veterinary nurse that a prosthesis couldn’t be made successfully, Ms Christian mentioned Triumph’s disability in passing to Lismore-based dental prosthetist Mr Doulman, who volunteered to try building a prosthetic foot himself.
"I take impressions of mouths, and all dentures are different, and it just dawned on me that I should have a go and see if I can manufacture something for him," Mr Doulman told ABC News.
"People do manufacture prosthetics for animals. I’ve seen them done for ducks, dogs and cats … but no-one seemed to want to have a go with this little fella."
ABC News reported Mr Doulman took an impression of Triumph’s stump and created a prosthetic boot-like attachment made from rubber and attached with Velcro.
The koala was recently fitted with the new foot and was said to immediately begin grooming, climbing and crawling, the prosthesis staying in place.
Ms Christian said Triumph’s entire demeanour had changed.
"He’s able to move a lot better, he’s a lot more active," she told ABC. "It alleviated the discomfort from his stump, and it assists him with running, he can jump, and it’s stopped a curvature in his spine because he needed that extra length."
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