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Prosthetic legs help pets take step forward

JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI
                                Akio Shimada checks an orthotic made by sewing together breathable fabric to match the shape of a plaster mold on Aug. 29 in Machida, Tokyo.
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JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI

Akio Shimada checks an orthotic made by sewing together breathable fabric to match the shape of a plaster mold on Aug. 29 in Machida, Tokyo.

TOKYO >> In mid-August, Akio Shimada, 41, a veterinary prosthetist, crafted a leg for Ayumu, a 9-month-old Saint Bernard who had lost his right hind leg to an injury.

After Shimada gently attached the prosthetic, Ayumu slowly stood and began to walk, wagging his tail a little. “I hope this will help him walk a little easier,” Shimada said.

Shimada has been manufacturing prosthetics and orthotics for animals through Toyo Sogu, a company he founded in 2007, at age 26. He’s gone from just 20 requests a year to 3,000 orders now received annually from all over Japan. Toyo Sugu has helped more than 30,000 animals that were disabled due to accident or illness.

“Each animal has a different body shape and symptoms, so we are constantly researching and challenging ourselves,” Shimada said. “We want to help as many suffering animals as possible and reassure their owners.”

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