This Orthotist Built Prosthetics for More Than 20,000 Animals

Mobility matters for all


(Phatthanun Kaewsuwan /

As far as Derrick Campana is concerned, helping those with physical disabilities walk doesn’t end with humans. Although he began his career helping people by creating leg braces and prosthetic legs, the orthotist from Sterling, Virginia, decided to start attending to four-legged creatures who otherwise wouldn’t receive the help they needed.

Campana founded Animal OrthoCare in 2005, building the world’s first orthotic leg brace for an Elephant named Jabu, and four prosthetic legs for Chi Chi the dog. Since then, he’s treated more than 20,000 patients, which inspired Animal Planet to focus the first episode of their new show “Dodo Heroes” on his dedication to animal care.

The show, which premiered on June 9, 2018, took viewers inside Campana’s world, designing custom orthotics and prosthetics for goats, deer, llamas, camels, sheep, cats, etc.

Though he never sees around 80 percent of his patients, Campana is dedicated to doing everything he can to aid their recovery. So how does he help those he’s never seen? If a goat requires a brace, Campana sends the owner a casting kit.

Once they’ve finished the mold, they send it back to his office in Virginia, where the Orthotist builds the device and sends it back to the patient. Everything is made to the animal’s specific requirements and measurements.

Since Animal Planet’s episode aired, Campana said more and more people are expressing interest in his business, giving him a bigger platform to share what he does and how it’s much easier and ‘cost-efficient’ to help creatures in need than people might assume.

“I want to share the story of what I do and all these animals that have overcome adversity. It’s all about awareness, and people just aren’t aware that these types of therapies exist, and if they did and they knew they were cost-effective and could really extend the life of their pet, that’s just my goal, is to help all of these animals,” he said. “And through this platform… it makes that goal just that more obtainable.”

In the future, Campana hopes to see the ‘customizable, off the shelf’ braces he’s been developing in stores, giving citizens easier access to the technology that could change their pet’s lives.

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