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Vets help goat walk with 3D printed foot
Thistle has responded well to the prosthesis.

It was feared the kid might have to be euthanised.

A young goat is back on her feet after veterinary surgeons at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) successfully fitted a 3D printed prosthetic foot.

Thistle, a Nubian goat, was born with a suspected deformity in her foot. Her veterinary surgeon diagnosed her with fractured digits.

Her owner Debbie Dale said: “Initial assessments were pointing towards having her having no option other than being put to sleep due to the extreme extent of the amputation she needed.”

However, Ms Dale was keen to explore the possibility of a prosthetic limb, especially as Thistle was so young.

Her veterinary surgeon referred five-week-old Thistle to the Equine Referral Hospital at the RVC. Following a CT scan and discussions about possible options, she underwent an amputation.

Three weeks after the surgery, Thistle returned to RVC to have her stitches removed and a new prosthetic limb fitted.

Professor Richard Bomphrey of the RVC’s Structure and Motion Laboratory, alongside Dr Melanie Perrier, senior lecturer in equine soft tissue surgery, designed and manufactured the limb based on measurements taken during another CT scan.

The limb has Velcro straps and a threaded bolt that can be adjusted as Thistle grows taller. Modifications have already been made to the design to help make it more comfortable.

Dr Perrier said: “Thistle's progress and her initial response to the prosthesis are very encouraging. While she initially only used the prosthesis for a few steps, after a few days she was mostly weight-bearing on it and showing a more natural gait.

“She will wear her prosthetic for a little longer each day and undergo regular physiotherapy exercises. She will only wear the prosthesis for a few hours daily to start with so she can get accustomed to it gently, and this will be increased over the following weeks and months so that ultimately, she can wear her prosthesis throughout the day.”

Ms Dale added: “I am over the moon with Thistle’s progress. She’s back to her agile self – even bullying her brothers!”


Image (C) RVC

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VMG president joins House of Lords

News Story 1
 Miles Russell, president of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG), has been elected to the House of Lords as a crossbench hereditary peer.

He will join Lord Trees as a representative of the veterinary sector in the second chamber of the UK parliament.

Lord Russell said: "Those of us working in the animal health and veterinary sectors are only too aware of the importance of the work we do and the challenges we face.

"I will use my platform in the House of Lords to increase understanding of our sectors and to promote positive change." 

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Sixth case of bluetongue confirmed

A sixth case of bluetongue virus serotype 3 has been confirmed in the UK.

The case was detected in an animal on a premises linked to one of the farms within the Temporary Control Zone (TCZ) currently in place near Canterbury, Kent.

In response, the Animal and Plant Health Agency has extended the TCZ. Investigations into the spread of the disease are ongoing.

The cases in Kent come at a time when a new strain of the virus has spread rapidly across farms in the Netherlands. Both the Government and the British Veterinary Association have urged livestock keepers to remain vigilant.

Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and suspected cases must be reported immediately on 03000 200 301 in England or 03003 038 268 in Wales. In Scotland, possible cases should be reported to the local field services office.