These vets were compelled to think creatively when a patient who lost his hind legs came to their clinic – a little turtle named Pedro.
When he was first adopted, Pedro was already missing one of his legs. However, the turtle managed to escape from home and disappeared for a few months. When he returned, something was way off – Pedro lost his other hind leg!
His owners brought him to Louisiana State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital to be examined by doctors. Fortunately, Pedro didn’t have any life-threatening disease – he was just a clumsy little reptile.
“There was nothing medically wrong with him. But of course he didn’t have any back legs, so our doctors quickly had to figure out what they were going to do,” said Ginger Guttner, communications manager for LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
After some brainstorming, the vets came up with an out of the box yet brilliant idea – a Lego car kit.
One of the hospital’s zoological interns made a trip to the toy store to buy the car kit. Then, they picked out the useful parts – the wheels – and fixed it with syringe parts and animal-safe epoxy.
After arranging the parts, the solution was finally built. Out of a few materials, the vets managed to customize a cute wheely device that would allow Pedro to walk again!
The wheels can even be snapped off from the bottom of his shell so that Pedro stays clean. How adorable is that?
“Veterinary medicine often requires this MacGyver-like quality,” Ginger said. “I would say the majority of special equipment we use has been fashioned or re-fashioned for a specific case.”
She went on to share that this wasn’t the first-time that vets had to come up with a creative solution to help an injured animal. One time, a team at the hospital built a mini fountain to keep fish alive while they performed an endoscopy.
“Our patients can be two grams or 2,000 pounds, so we often have to look at things from a completely different perspective,” she said.
And this skill surely paid off. Pedro’s owners say that aside from being able to walk again, the turtle has been moving faster than ever. But we hope they make sure that he doesn’t get too excited with his new wheels – we wouldn’t want another injury!
We’re so happy that Pedro is able to get around again, all thanks to the creativity and quick-thinking of his vets!