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Smaug, one of the Houston Zoo's Komodo dragons, wears the orthosis crafted by members of Baylor's Orthotic and Prosthetic faculty.

The Baylor College of Medicine community is saddened to hear about the passing of Smaug, the 17-year-old Komodo dragon at the Houston Zoo. The faculty in the Orthotics and Prosthetics Program at Baylor had been working closely with zoo veterinarians and keepers since November 2014 to develop an orthosis to help Smaug use his right foot more proficiently. While his lumbar spinal cord compression was not linked to his previous weakness in his right front limb, the team at Baylor became very close to Smaug and enjoyed collaborating with the team at the Houston Zoo in his treatment.

“We all became attached to Smaug and enjoyed all our opportunities to go over and see him and the staff,” said Earl Fogler, instructor in the Orthotics and Prosthetics Program. “It was a privilege to help Smaug as long as we did – working with Smaug presented different challenges and perspectives that we can apply to our everyday work.”

The Baylor team looks forward to working with the Houston Zoo on continuing and future collaborations.