Jodhpur: Two orthotists here claim to have developed artificial limbs for cows, though it's early days to say how successful they will be.
The prosthetics, which have been fitted below the knee on one hind leg each of three cows at Krishna Gopal Gaushala in Nagaur, over 160 km from here, have been developed using waste material of products used to manufacture artificial limbs for human beings, Rakesh Sharma, an orthotist at the Mahatma Gandhi Hospital here, told IANS.
"About a month back, some people from Nagaur came to us and they wanted our help in developing artificial limbs for some of their cows. They insisted so I told them that I would come to their place and see what best can be done," Sharma said.
Sharma and Chetan Goswami, a helper in the Jodhpur branch of the Mahaveer Viklang Sahayta Samiti, a Jaipur-based NGO and one of the largest producer of artificial limbs, visited the place where cows were kept.
"After seeing them, we thought that something can be done. We returned to Jodhpur and made artificial limbs for three cows. It is now about a week and things seem normal. I will visit these cows again in a month to see how they are progressing, but as of now things seem fine," Sharma said.
Sharma said that such artificial limbs are cheap and cost around Rs.3,000 to Rs.3,500.
"We have not charged anything for these cows," he added.
He said that the most challenging part was the fitment of the limbs.
"When we fit them on human beings, we always ask patients is there any pain. If there is pain we immediately remove it and try to make a new limb. But as cows cannot speak, it was difficult to know about whether they are in any kind of pain. So, after putting on the limbs we watched the cows. Were the cows putting their body weight on the limbs and will these limbs be able to withstand the weight of these cows," he said adding that after 20-25 days he will again visit Nagaur to see if he has been able to pass the experimental stage or not.
In the meantime, the authorities at the cow shed have been asked to closely monitor the cows and submit a detailed report.
Sharma said of the 1,599 animals at the cowshed, some 250-300 could be fitted with artificial limbs. Most of the cows have damaged hind legs, caused by accidents.