Many people have heard that if a horse breaks its leg you just need to shoot it. Sadly that happens to many horses. A race horse can easily break a leg from a mishap but even a trail horse can easily loose footing on lose ground and end up with a broken leg. While you no longer need to shoot the horse outright it is still a tough road. Once the leg is broken a horse will need to have a surgical procedure to repair its leg. Normally it is confined to a small stall and given pain medications. However the horse will still be standing on that leg as it heals. This means that the mere shifting around in the stall could cause complications and problems in the recovery. Many horses are euthanized after having the surgery to repair the broken leg and developing other issues during the recovery.
Luckily for horses and their owners the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University Saskatchewan is developing a solution. They have built a new lift to help horses with a chance to recover. Vets have been using slings for a while to get the animals to have less weight on their legs. The problem came in a number of ways, these slings would put all that weight on the animal’s chest, which would compress the lungs. Additionally mobility would be restricted and the horse would develop sores.
The new lift system can get around all of those problems. With its robotic system the lift can redistribute the animal’s weight so it is no long compressing the lungs. Also it allows the horse to have some movement of its legs, though with limited weight bearing, to find muscle deterioration during recovery. They are hopeful that this will help more horses be able recover from a broken leg rather than it being a death sentence. So far it is looking rather hopeful that this new list will not only decrease pain for the horse, but also reduce recovery time which will also save money for the owner.
Those responsible for the lift teamed up with RMD Engineering. It is an organization local to the school that does engineering and manufacture. They have a history of teaming up with groups from the school. A previous project yielded a bovine tilt table. The owner of the company has said that their goal is to help people to solve problems.