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Grove family fashions prosthetic limb for alpaca

An Oklahoma City alpaca is rehabilitating at a Grand Lake alpaca ranch while a Grove family fits her for a new artificial leg.

BY SHEILA STOGSDILL Modified: November 4, 2012 at 10:35 pm •  Published: November 5, 2012
/articleid/3725751/1/pictures/1876223">Photo - Dave Helms uses the latest technology to create a prosthetic leg for Cornucopia, an Alpaca. Provided
Dave Helms uses the latest technology to create a prosthetic leg for Cornucopia, an Alpaca. Provided

“She insisted on walking on her stump.”

Cornucopia’s mobility was extremely good as she raced around on her three and half legs, but the concern was for the stump and the joint on the other legs and both shoulders, Helms said.

Wear and tear and a doubling of the animal’s weight rendered the original prosthesis no longer serviceable.

A footplate was created, but the pylon system failed and the prosthesis was worn to simply provide protection to the residual limb, Helms said.

Efforts to find someone in the Oklahoma City area to make a new leg for Cornucopia were failing.

Fittings, rehabilitation

In the small alpaca world, the Alperts met Tom and Kathleen Callan of Zena Suri Alpacas, located in a small rural farming community on Grand Lake. The Callans brought the Helms into the alpaca circle.

“Right now the test socket fittings have proved successful,” Beverly Helms said.

Cornucopia is running, playing, sleeping and eating on the Callans’ 78-acre ranch as she goes through rehabilitation.

“She is fitting in with 54 alpacas and six llamas,” Kathleen Callan said.

“They have adopted her into the herd. She is pretty much one of them.”

Cornucopia is wearing a sock, along with the prosthetic leg, because it helps cushion the area, she said.

“I think when she is all healed up and ready to go, they [herd] will be sad,” Callan said.

Cornucopia is such an inspiration to everyone, she said.

“If she can do — humans can do,” Callan said. “She has to handle four legs where humans only have to handle two legs.”

The final fitting and alignment of the prosthesis is expected to be completed within weeks.

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