Derrick Campana makes prosthetics for animals in need at Animal Orthocare — a “limb factory” where he builds prosthetics from scratch for all kinds of furry and feathered animals.
Campana appears on the first episode of “Dodo Heroes,” a new series on Animal Planet. On his episode, Campana makes a prosthetic cast for a five-ton elephant in Botswana named Jabu.
“He stepped in a termite mound, like a hole in the ground, and he twisted his wrist really bad,” he explained. “Might not sound like a huge injury but for a big elephant like Jabu, it’s a life-threatening injury. So, I built a brace for his wrist and that allows him to get along and be protected.”
Campana want to school for human orthopedics but was approached by a veterinarian who needed a prosthesis for her dog. Animal orthopedics has been his passion since. Although he sees patients at his office (mostly dogs), he also provides a mail service, which customers can mold their pet’s limbs with a casting kit and send it back to him to create a custom-made prosthesis. To date, he says he has helped more than 20,000 animals.
“I’ve been doing this for about 15 years and there is only six to 10 of us in the world that make prosthetics for animals,” he stated. “And I think it’s just raising awareness. I don’t think people realize that we can make these devices and they’re relatively cheap. We want to help animals and give the same types of treatments that people have to animals.”