With the synthesis of information from human orthopedics, biophysics, and materials science, veterinarians and engineers have been able to develop effective and technologically advanced animal prosthetics. The loss of limbs in pets and in their wild counterparts can occur as a result of injury or diseases such as cancer. In most instances, three-legged animals are able to get about almost as well as four-legged ones, but the irregular motion and weight distribution involved in making that happen eventually take their toll on the rest of the body, ultimately shortening life spans and reducing the quality of life.
A socket prosthetic, which is slipped over the stump of an amputated limb and secured using straps and braces, can improve mobility and is easily removed and replaced. An integrated prosthetic, in which an anchor such as a titanium alloy screw is implanted into the bone of the amputated limb and is then fitted onto a support of carbon fiber or a composite material, provides long-lasting limb support. This approach requires surgery and relies on bone and skin growth around the implant to help secure it in place.