At the San Diego Zoo, Lucas, a four-year-old African penguin, has a degenerate foot condition called bumblefoot, which could be life-threatening if left untreated. The penguin developed this condition when he got a spinal infection that weakened his leg muscles and caused him to rest on his ankles for support. To help their beloved penguin, the zoo staff teamed up with Thera-Paw, an organization that creates products for animals with special needs, and made a pair of personalized orthopedic footwear. The footwear not only protects existing injuries, it also prevents new sores from forming on the penguin’s feet and ankles. With these shoes, Lucas’s foot condition, movement, and posture have improved, enabling him to climb rocks and walk with more ease. Expressing joy, senior veterinarian Dr. Beth Bicknese said, “I’ve known Lucas for a long time, so having the ability to provide him with a chance to live a normal life brings a smile to my face.”

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