Readers may recall a story we did late last year in which custom titanium horseshoes were 3D printed for race horses in Australia. It turns out that this development was noted by Australian veterinarians treating horses afflicted with Laminitis, an inflammation in the area between the horse’s hoof and bone.
The idea was to develop a specialized horseshoe that could support the foot while healing took place. The new shoes are designed to carry stress away from affected tissues. The horseshoes were obviously quite different from those developed for the race horses, requiring 3D scans of the horse’s foot and custom design.
The first test subject, a mare named Holly, appear to be successful, with the horse expected to be “walking normally” within mere weeks. Typically Laminitis is a difficult disease to cure, so vets are extremely interested in the new technique.
We think this is a terrific example of how solutions spread. Once someone invents a use, others build on that to produce new discoveries. These days 3D printing is at a point where such discoveries are happening daily. Everywhere.