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Natural Gas, Oil and Animal Orthotics: Making the Impossible Possible

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted September 29, 2017

Meet Bogart – the first-ever bionic camel


Bogart was born with carpel hyper-extensions, meaning his front legs won’t support the rest of his body. This rare and extreme condition would make it hard for Bogart to have a normal life. But Dr. Derrick Campana, an animal orthotist and founder of Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Va., stepped in to create braces to get him on his feet – you know, all four of ‘em.

Because of the size the braces needed to be, Campana turned to high-temperature thermoplastics for stability. The braces are made with polypropylene – a byproduct of natural gas and oil. These high-tech plastics began with some incredible advancement in human orthotics and prosthetics over the last 30 years.

A little background: Historically, human orthotics and prosthetics were often made of wood, steel or leather, making wear and movement cumbersome and at times painful for patients. Innovations in the field now use new types of plastics and carbon fiber composites found within natural gas and oil. Today, the latest generation of durable plastics has allowed the creation of prosthetic limbs that require less human energy to operate and orthotics that are stronger and lighter. They restore levels of mobility and freedom. And look really cool:

These breakthroughs in human orthotics and prosthetics can now be translated to animals, giving our favorite furry friends a second chance. Campana on his work with thermoplastics such as polypropylene and polyethylene, making these vital products at lower costs:

“We have to keep these devices cost-effective for the owners, and high-temperature or low-temperature thermoplastics are very cost-effective and modifiable. You can heat form these to fit the dogs better and adjust them as needed.”

Custom Prosthetics For Animals

This company custom-makes prosthetics for animals. 😍

Posted by INSIDER on Thursday, September 21, 2017

Plastics, with the help of natural gas and oil, are enabling innovators to solve everyday challenges, making the impossible, possible.


Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.