Apr 25, 2016 | By Tess

The story of Shine, a sweet miniature horse, would have been a tragic one if it weren’t for the help and dedication of a team of veterinarians from Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the capabilities of 3D printing technologies.

The miniature horse, who is owned by Jacque Corsentino and Lee Vigil, was found by them on December 29th, 2015 in his stall covered in blood. According to Shine’s owners, they think he was attacked by dogs, as he was left with puncture wounds on his face, and a badly bitten back leg. Corsentino and Vigil treated Shine for some time but found that his leg was too badly  injured to be properly healed, and after having a local veterinarian, Dr. Britt Stubblefield, determine that the mini horse’s coffin bone and lower pastern bone (the bones that connect the leg to the hoof) were fractured, they were not sure whether their pet would survive.

Fortunately, Dr. Stubblefield thought of a possible solution to helping the miniature horse and brought the case to Dr. Laurie Goodrich, an associate professor of equine orthopaedics at the CSU. Corsentino explained, “Dr. Stubblefield called Dr. Goodrich from my barn, and then at least we knew we had some options, other than sending him to heaven.”

Upon presenting the injured pony to Dr. Goodrich at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the vet quickly realized that Shine’s back hoof would have to be amputated because of the severity of the injury and an infection in it. Fortunately, because of the horse’s small size and weight (150 lbs) compared to regular sized horses (which can reportedly weigh up to 2,000 lbs), fitting Shine with an artifial limb was a possibility.

The amputation surgery, which took about two hours to complete, involved the removal of Shine’s injured and infected hoof and distal limb below the fetlock, as well as the implantation of two stainless steel pins through the horse’s cannon bone, which would help to support the leg during the healing process. Dr. Goodrich explains, “It’s the first one I’ve done, but I’ve always wanted to try. We had no way of preserving that limb. So we had to take it off, and this was the only option to preserve his life.”

After the surgery, Shine was fitted with a prosthetic hoof, which was custom made for him based off of radiographs and manufactured on a 3D printer. The temporary 3D printed prosthetic helped Shine to stay upright and balanced during the healing process, during which he inspired and charmed all the veterinarians in training at the CSU school.

Finally, one month after the surgery, Shine was refitted with a new prosthetic, which was supplied by Westminster, Colorado based company OrthoPets. Shine’s back leg prosthetic marks the fourth time OrthoPets, founded by Martin Kaufmann, has fitted a miniature horse with a prosthetic hoof, further reinforcing the potentials of the procedure.

Seeing Shine walk around on his new prosthetic hoof was a joyous and emotional experience for the team of veterinarians at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, as they were happy to see the docile and friendly miniature horse able to comfortably walk again, even seeing him break into a happy trot.

“He’s very sweet, laid-back, easy to deal with,” said Dr. Ellison Aldrich, the resident who oversaw Shine’s case. “His favorite food is Gobstoppers. He’s so cute and people love to feed them to him. But he also loves apples and carrots.”

Shine’s owners, who had been raising the miniature horse to be a show horse, have now decided that perhaps Shine could be trained as a therapy horse. After his own trauma, and his ability to bring hope and joy to the people around him, Shine would be an ideal candidate for a therapy animal. Corsentino says, “He’s so comforting. You know when you have horrible days? Shine is my therapy. I think he would make an amazing therapy horse for wounded warriors or kids with disabilities.”

Currently, Shine’s owners are trying to raise some money to help with paying the miniature horse’s procedures through a Petchance crowdfunding campaign.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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