Robbie the Shetland sheepdog is perhaps the first ever “bionic” dog in the United Kingdom, according to the Mirror. After suffering from deterioration of his two hind legs, both his feet are now fitted with robotic prosthetics.
Robbie is eleven years old, and was suffering from health problems which caused his hind leg muscles to deteriorate and become useless. But thanks to this pup’s new robotic legs, he’s up and running.
The little Shetland Sheepdog suffers from Cushing’s disease, a condition that causes his body to produce excess amounts of the hormone Cortisol. The FDA states that Cortisol helps to maintain body weight, tissue structure, and skin condition. Cushing’s disease commonly occurs in older dogs, and is typically the result of a small tumor on the pituitary gland or on the adrenal glands. For Robbie, the imbalance in his Cortisol levels caused his muscles to deteriorate, his skin to thin, and increases his chances of getting infections.
Now thanks to his new robotic legs, Robbie can walk and play just like he used to. But for a while, his owner Sharman Steel of Kent wasn’t sure he would even live. Cushing’s is a lifelong disease, and requires frequent visits to the vet and regular treatments with medications. Steel had tried painkillers, hormonal therapy, and even surgery to help Robbie. With his condition continuing to worsen, she was even considering putting him down.
That was before Peter van Dongen of Pennard Vets treated Robbie. Van Dongen is one of only 10 certified canine rehabilitation specialists in the United Kingdom. Thanks so his treatment, Robbie is back to all his usual activities: sitting, walking, lying down, and of course, getting back up on his feet. In addition to helping Robbie walk and play, the prosthetics also protect his sensitive paws from getting cut on the ground. This greatly reduces Robbie’s chance of contracting any infections.
“Robbie the Robodog” is not the first dog ever to receive these revolutionary prosthetics. Naki’o the former stray was the first dog in the world to use robotics on all four of his legs. Found as a puppy, Naki’o was near death and had lost all four of his paws to frostbite. But thanks to the groundbreaking technology of robotic prosthetics, Naki’o has now been walking for years.
This amazing technology is produced by a company called OrthoPets. Robbie’s legs came from the OrthoPet’s UK branch. The legs cost Robbie’s owner £1,000 per leg. In the United States, that price can be anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000 per leg. But to be able to go for walks like they used to, Steel told the Mirror that it was worth every penny.