The calf at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park was thought to require bespoke leg braces, so it contacted the Hanger Clinic, a nationwide maker of outcome-based orthotic and prosthetic treatment. Despite the fact that the clinic specializes on human treatment, members of the San Diego-based Hanger Clinic team collaborated with the zoo to devise a unique approach for Msituni.
“We are ecstatic to have the tools and knowledge to step in and help this young calf get the opportunity for a full life,” Dr. Matt Kinney, DVM, a senior veterinarian with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA), said in a statement. “Without these lifesaving braces to support her legs, the position of her legs would have become increasingly more painful and she would have been unable to overcome it.”
CREDIT: KEN BOHN/SAN DIEGO ZOO
The crew swiftly produced the custom-molded carbon graphite orthotic braces after the calf’s legs were cast molds, and Msituni was fitted with her new equipment.
“It’s so exciting,” said Ara Mirzaian, a qualified orthotist at Hanger Clinic. “I’ve never dealt with animals before — it’s one of those things that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you just have to enjoy the experience.”