Prosthetic shoes helped a penguin who could not walk due to spinal condition

The shoes that enabled penguin Lucas to walk again are from the US-based company Thera Paw.

What’s wrong with Lucas?

Lucas, the African penguin, has had trouble walking for more than three years because of the inflammation in his spine. Infection of the discs, which act as a cushion between each vertebra, causes muscle weakness and pain in the legs.

Lucas has terrible blisters on his left foot and legs from sitting back on his ankles, which wouldn’t normally contact the ground. Lucas’s bumblefoot is also believed to be a permanent condition.

“I’ve known Lucas for a long time, so having the ability to provide him with a chance to live a normal life brings a smile to my face,” said Dr. Beth Bicknese, senior veterinarian at the San Diego Zoo.

Prosthetic shoes helped a penguin who could not walk due to spinal condition

African penguins at Boulders Beach in Cape Town.

“The boots are cushioned and Velcroed in place, so they will help Lucas to fully participate in the colony and showcase behaviors that are more typical for a penguin—such as climbing the rocks, swimming, nesting and finding a suitable mate.

“This was such an amazing opportunity, and we were honored to be asked to assist the team at the San Diego Zoo,” said Ilaria Borghese, founder and president of Thera-Paw.

“Over the years, we’ve tackled challenging cases like Lucas’s, and each is special and memorable. One thing that never gets old is seeing an animal’s life dramatically improve after using one of our aids. It inspires and drives us every day.”

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