Prosthetic Wheels Put a Squirrel on the Road to Recovery

Monday, 9 April

Karamel the squirrel has two legs and two wheels. It's been a long journey for the little creature, as Turkish outlets Hürriyet and Daily Sabah recount. In southeast Turkey’s Batman province, 19-year-old Rüzgar Alkan came upon the squirrel with its front legs caught in an animal trap. Alkan brought it to a vet in the province’s capital, but the injuries were too serious to treat there.

Research led Alkan to Tayfun Demir, already caregiver to a rescue squirrel. Demir agreed to adopt Karamel, too, and the squirrel came to live with him in Istanbul, about 700 miles away. At Istanbul Aydın University, orthotist Mustafa Gültekin, with orthopedist Tolgay Şatana, and physical therapist Eylem Küçük all worked to help Karamel recover.

Karamel underwent two surgeries, one lasting six hours. Saving Karamel’s legs became impossible due to gangrene. But a specially constructed prosthesis allowed Karamel to be outfitted with wheels. The rehab team is getting Karamel accustomed to such a device, and making adjustments to ensure a good fit for their final design.