[Tye’s] dog Lucifur unfortunately has degenerative arthritis causing her a lot of pain in her feet. The vet suggested orthotic carpal braces to help alleviate the pain, but they come at a price tag of at least $1600. Given her current budgetary limitations, [Tye] decided to try the DIY route.
The first task was to cast Lucifur’s paws in plaster to make a mold of her feet in both the weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing orientations. According to [Tye], the non-weight-bearing orientation is more representative of the shape of a “normal” paw, but she also needed to model the weight-bearing orientation to better design the braces for walking.
Then it was time to print a PLA-based dog splint from a design she found on Thingiverse. Since PLA softens when it’s in boiling water, the splint can be easily molded to Lucifur’s paw. This is where the paw molds [Tye] made earlier come in handy, since nobody would want Lucifur wearing a PLA splint fresh out of boiling water. Finally, she added a bit of super glue to the heel of the splint in hopes that it will hold up better over time.
We certainly can’t recommend DIY solutions to medical problems and [Tye] made sure she stressed the importance of following the recommendations of your vet if you’re ever in her position. Either way, we hope Lucifur finds some momentary reprieve, and that she can eventually receive those $1600 braces she desperately needs.