Derrick Campana: Saving animals, one prosthetic at a time


BYU Broadcasting

WP_0400_Unit_Thailand_0105.JPG March 18, 2022 Wizard of Paws Season 04 Episode 00 Unit Photography Photo by: Group Nine © 2021 BYU Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

Caris Grell, Staff Reporter

A prosthetic can extend a dog’s life up to two years. But how would one design a prosthetic fit for a full grown elephant? 

Derrick Campana is an animal prosthetist in Sterling, Virginia, who has cared for over 20,000 animals ranging from small dogs to a 31-year-old Elephant named Mae Mai. 

After graduating with a degree in Kinesiology and Biomechanics and a master’s degree in Orthotics and Prosthetics, Campana began his career in building human prosthetics. But after crafting a device for a small fluffy dog, he decided that creating prosthetics for animals was his true passion. He is now the founder of Bionic Pets, a company on a mission to make better lives for all kinds of animals, including his biggest patient, Mae Mai.

Mae Mai the elephant is a resident of the Thailand Elephant Nature Park. After dislocating her knee, she needed a brace to help her heal properly, ease some of the pain, and prevent infection or further injury. The process of making the brace started in January of 2022, and took three months total. It began with the vet team at the Thailand Elephant Nature Park casting a mold of Mae Mai’s leg and sending it to Campana’s workshop in the United States. Campana used that mold to make a closely fitting brace, then traveled to Thailand to make any final adjustments to the fit. After some time, Mae Mai got comfortable with the brace and started on her path to recovery. For a more in depth explanation look here.

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  • Mae Mai wearing her new brace.

  • Photo Gallery credit:

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