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Dentist Creates Prosthetic Foot for Koala Suffering Birth Defect

Dentist Creates Prosthetic Foot for Koala Suffering Birth Defect

Wednesday, 24 February, 2021 - 05:30
A koala with a prosthetic foot lies in a tree in Lismore, Australia February 22, 2021 in this still image taken from a video. (Reuters)

Triumph, a male koala born without a foot, has been climbing and running since he was fitted with a prosthetic one made by a neighborhood dentist.

Veterinarian nurse Marley Christian had rescued the joey koala in northern New South Wales in 2017, after she found him next to his dying mother with only three feet and a protruding bone in place of the fourth.

"Once I put the little boot on him and he did this little jump, then he was running around and climbing, I actually cried," she said, explaining how Triumph became a whole new koala once the prosthesis was attached.

"It's the best thing that ever happened, I would do absolutely anything for this boy," she added.

Christian had become Triumph's primary carer at the Friends of the Koala center in Lismore, a town south of Brisbane, while searching for a solution to his birth defect.

A US company specializing in animal prosthesis tried to create a foot for Triumph, but was unsuccessful after several attempts.

Eventually Christian found an answer closer to home. Dental prosthetist Jon Doulman had heard of Triumph's dilemma and volunteered to take on the case. Doulman is currently in the process of improving his design for Triumph, but said that the koala seems to be quite comfortable wearing it.

Triumph, which is nearly five years old, will need to spend the rest of his life in captivity, most likely under Christian's care.

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