Three-legged tortoise gets Lego wheel prosthetic

Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM
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BADEN, Germany, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Veterinarians in Germany said a tortoise that lost a front leg is successfully moving around with the help of a Lego wheel.

Dr. Panagiotis Azmanis of the Birdconsulting International veterinary practice in Baden, said the tortoise, Schildi, was in "pretty bad shape" when he was brought in, The reported Thursday.

"The lower part of his front leg was missing, and the upper part was very bad, with bone showing, and maggots in necrotic flesh," Azmanis said.

He said he tortoise was stabilized and the injured leg was amputated at the shoulder.

Azmanis said the solution to the question of a prosthetic for the tortoise was found in the office manager's daughter's toy box.

He said he used special veterinary surgical glue to stick a base block to Schildi's underside and blocks were then stacked to ensure the wheel was the correct height to roll along the ground as the tortoise walked.

"First we fitted a double wheel but it was difficult for him to turn corners so we replaced it with a single wheel and that is much better for him," Azmanis said.

Azmanis said Schildi was taken back to the animal shelter that discovered him.

"We will see him again once in a while for check-ups," Azmanis said. "If he gets a 'flat tire' it will be a simple matter to replace the wheel. They move around quite a lot so I'd expect to see him for a new wheel about once a year."

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