Move your feet — penguin foot care takes priority in the San Diego Zoo’s African penguin colony.
Lucas, a four-year-old penguin, was treated for an ongoing degenerative foot condition for three years. The recent solution proposed by the experts lies in appropriately fitted orthopedic footwear. According to a press release by the San Diego Wildlife Alliance, Lucas has lesions on his feet caused by a chronic condition called bumblefoot.
Bumblefoot results in foot inflammation, most likely caused by sedentary habits, prolonged time on hard surfaces and reduced time in the water. If the foot is untreated, it can be fatal to penguins. It can also lead to sepsis and death by infection.
The zoo’s wildlife care specialists are knowledgeable about the condition but needed extra hands to build the necessary protective gear. The team reached out to an organization called Thera-Paw, which designs and creates custom-made rehabilitative equipment for animals with special needs.
Thera-Paw created footwear for Lucas, which is made out of neoprene and rubber to prevent pressure sores from developing during his movement. It is heart-wrenching to witness an animal in pain and this solution hopefully puts an end to the suffering of the penguin.
The orthopedic shoes can remedy the pain and serve as a fashion statement. Lucas has unique footwear that turns heads in the penguin colony. If anyone laughs, he can hit them with his new kicks.