‘Bionic Dog’: How Do Nebraska Dog’s 4 Prosthetic Paws Work?

By Philip Ross on April 29, 2013 11:22 AM EDT

naki'o bionic dog four paws
Doggy prosthetic limbs are made from the same material as human prosthetics and mimic the muscle and bone of dog limbs. (Photo: Screenshot/Youtube)

Naki'o, a mixed-breed dog from Nebraska, has been retrofitted with four prosthetic paws after losing all four of his feet to frostbite. The "bionic dog" was given a second shot at a normal dog's life after veterinarians from OrthoPets were able to give Naki'o four mechanical new limbs.

ABC News reports that the "bionic dog" was discovered in a basement in Nebraska, along with the rest of his litter, after the homeowners, fleeing foreclosure, abandoned the residence. Naki'o was frozen in place in a puddle, and all four of his paws (as well as the tip of his tail) were lost to frostbite.

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According to Incredible Features, Naki'o and the rest of the litter were rushed to an animal rescue center. Veterinarians were able to successfully amputate all of Naki'o's frozen extremities, and he was left with just four rounded stubs. Naki'o resorted to worming around on his belly to get around because walking on his stumped feet was too painful.

That's when one of the veterinary assistants, Christie Pace, decided to take Naki'o home.

"I have a soft spot for rescue animals in general. I was looking for something different, unique. I wanted to make more of a difference than a regular dog. I knew I could help him out," Pace told ABC News.

She also organized a fundraiser to pay for the "bionic dog's" prosthetic paws, which can cost between $600 and $850 each, according to OrthoPets, the animal hospital that performed Naki'o's procedure.

Happy with the outcome of the dog's rear prosthetics, OrthoPets gave Naki'o his two front paws for free.

So how do Naki'o's prosthetic paws work?

OrthoPets states that their doggy prosthetics are made from the same materials as human prosthetics and are formed from polypropylene plastic. Water-proof foam is used as padding, and BMX bicycle tire-tread is used for the bottoms of the paws.

"The prosthetics are built to mimic the muscle and bone of dog limbs, allowing them to do everything a normal dog would do," Incredible Features reports.

Naki'o's prosthetic paws allow him to run, jump and even swim.

Animal prosthetics are not limited to canines. Elephants, sea turtles, bald eagles and even dolphins have received prosthetic limbs that have allowed them to go about their lives untethered by handicaps.  

International Business Times reports that an elephant in Asia named Mosha was the first elephant in the world to be fitted with an artificial leg after she stepped on a landmine when she was seven months old. Allison, an Atlantic green turtle, was given three flippers. According to Mother Nature Network, vets gave Beauty the bald eagle a prosthetic beak after her real beak was shattered by a poacher's bullet.

You can see a slideshow of animals with prosthetic parts here.

Read more from iScience Times:

Dog Six Days In Car: Should Zipper The Dog Be Given Back To Owner?

Dog Rescues Girl: 9-Year-Old In Canada Saved From Icy Waters By Labrador-Husky Named Rocky

Toddler Mauled By 7 Dogs: Pit Bulls Kill Georgia Girl In Family Yard

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