July 8, 2016

A New Prosthetic Leg for Victim of Landmine an Elephant Living in Thailand

[gallery_image src=”” alt=”Mosha” img_class=”size-full” ]

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Mosha made history nine years ago. As a baby elephant, back in 2007, she lost one of her legs in Burma (now known as Myanmar) when she stepped on a landmine. She was brought to the FAE Elephant Hospital in Lampang, Thailand, the only one of its kind, to be cared for while they figured out how to help the pachyderm. The doctors at that time knew Mosha had to get a prosthetic leg or she could die. Everyone worked together at the hospital to make a miracle for Mosha, and in that same year, 2007, Mosha became the first elephant ever to be fitted with a prosthetic leg.

However, since Mosha was only a baby when she was fitted with that leg, she was going to need a new and stronger prosthetic limb as she got older and heavier. In her first 12 months following the accident, Mosha had gone through three different prosthetic legs to accommodate her growth.

Fast forward to June 2016, and it is time for Mosha to get her ninth prosthetic leg because she now weighs more than 4000 pounds.

[gallery_image src=”” alt=”Mosha with no prosthetic” img_class=”size-full” ]

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Dr. Therdchai Jivacate is an orthopedic surgeon, and he made Mosha’s first prosthetic leg. This time, her vast size made the creation of a new prosthetic more challenging, but it had to be done. Her gait was off making her unbalanced as she walked. This was twisting her spine and had it continued Mosha would have died.

Dr. Jivacate worked with his team to design a prosthetic that would be comfortable for Mosha, and one that she would not try to remove.

[gallery_image src=”” alt=”Dr. Jivacate” img_class=”size-full” ]

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Once the prosthetic was ready, it was slipped on Mosha’s limb like a sock, and then securely fastened.

[gallery_image src=”” alt=”slipping on prosthetic” img_class=”size-full” ]

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It took her a little while to get used to walking on the new limb, but then it seemed like she was celebrating by tossing sand over her back.

[gallery_image src=”” alt=”throwing dirt on back” img_class=”size-full” ]

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Dr. Jivacate tries to help elephants who have been landmine victims as much as possible. The FAE Elephant Hospital currently cares for over 12 injured elephants. These animals are hurt due to the ongoing battles at the border that have plagued the area for decades. The doctor’s goal is to help ease the pain these animals are suffering.

Dr. Jivacate told The Huffington Post, ““Animals don’t ask that we make legs for them, but we wanted to give Mosha one. I think she knows that I make her prosthetic legs as each time I come to the elephant hospital she makes a little salute by raising her trunk in the air.”

The video below shows in detail the work that went into making Mosha’s latest prosthetic limb. The video is not in English, but the imagery makes it clear what steps were taken to help this great creature, and it shows how much these animals mean to the people who take care of these pachyderms. \

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