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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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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.