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Today Holly, a decade-old mare, has taken her first steps in 3D-printed “horse-thotics”.
According to a statement from the CSIRO, the custom-made horseshoes were the result of a collaboration between the research organisation and vets from the Equine Podiatry and Lameness Centre, whose imagination was sparked when they saw a story earlier this year about 3D printed racing horseshoes.
“The new shoes will work to redistribute weight away from the painful areas of the laminitic foot and give Holly, and horses like her, the chance to recover,” said Dr Luke Wells-Smith from the equine centre.
“Many attempts have been made in the past to cure laminitis but it’s the 3D scanning and design part of this process that is so exciting to us.”
Laminitis causes painful inflammation in hooved animals when bone and hoof begin to separate.
The use of 3D scanning and digital customisation enabled a perfect fit.
Additive manufacturing has been used for many biomedical purposes, but John Barnes, a titanium expert from the CSIRO, said that the new horses were a first.
“We’re glad that this technology is opening so many doors and is now helping to aid the rehab process for these animals and get them walking comfortably again,” said Barnes.