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Story #94OrthoPetsWestminster, CO

How do we start a revolution within the veterinary community? How do you create that industry yourself?

When a human suffers a devastating leg injury, there is often a surgery that can fix it, or an orthotic or prosthetic device that assists in their mobility. So, why can’t the same be done for animals? This was the thought process behind Westminster, Colo.-based small business OrthoPets. Founded by Martin Kaufmann in 2003, OrthoPets is a device manufacturing company that specializes in orthotic and prosthetic options for animals.

Kaufmann was specializing in orthotics for humans when a phone call from his cousin changed the course of his career. His cousin’s dog had suffered a stroke and injured its leg, and the vet was going to amputate the entire leg. “When people have strokes, you don’t cut their legs off. You give them simple braces so they can get around functionally and enjoy their quality of life,” says Kaufmann. “Maybe I can do the same thing with animals that I do for my human patients.” He was right.

The challenge that Kaufmann faced was that he was starting his small business in an industry that didn’t exist. “So it was a matter of, how do we start a revolution within the veterinary community, and how do you get to the level where you can train veterinarians on how to use this stuff?” For Kaufmann, the best way to overcome this barrier is through creating a demand within the market of pet owners. 

The more people and vets who realize that orthotics and prosthetics are an option for animals, the more this industry can continue to grow, which is something Kaufmann hopes will happen. The goal is to “get the right people in place, get the right structure, so that it can take on its own identity and be more than just one part – just myself.” It would also create more jobs, something that Kaufmann views as his additional role in the local community.

 But for Kaufmann, there is one thing that trumps everything else. “Besides changing veterinary medicine for the better, helping owners so they don’t have to put down their pets is at the top of the list.”

 

Photos by Christina Clusiau

  • Founder Martin Kaufman fits a dog with an orthotic brace. Ortho Pets team members design, create and assemble biomechanically correct orthotics and prosthetics for animals at their Denver warehouse and clinic. In 2003 after founder Martin Kaufman's dog suffered a stroke and lost the ability to use his from leg he was surprised of the vets recommendation to amputate. It was then he had the idea to create orthotic device that would help his dog keep the limb and have a quality of life. Today Martin continues to find non-invasive health care options by engineering individually designed orthotics for a variety of animals. (photo by: Christina Clusiau)

  • Martin Kaufman, owner of OrthoPets, hopes that more vets will learn about the benefits of using orthotics and prosthetics, and that the industry will expand beyond his small business.

  • Photos of OrthoPets patients on display at the clinic in Westminster, Colo.

  • Martin Kaufmann, owner of OrthoPets, fits a dog with an orthotic brace. “I realized nobody else was doing this,” says Kaufmann on founding his small business. “The industry did not exist, and I have a passion for animals and am good at what I do, so I thought there has to be an opportunity here.”

  • Martin Kaufmann, owner of OrthoPets, fits a dog with an orthotic brace.

  • An OrthoPets team member works on a prosthetic. OrthoPets currently has 21 employees, who owner Martin Kaufmann describes as “a group of guys and gals that give me their heart and soul, because we all have a shared common vision.”

  • A photo of a dog wearing orthotics, which are used to support or brace an existing limb and can mimic a cast or create a dynamic range of motion.

  • OrthoPets team members design, create, and assemble biomechanically correct orthotics and prosthetics for animals at the company’s fabrication center and clinic.

  • A prosthetic device being shaped at the OrthoPets fabrication center and clinic.

  • Martin Kaufman, owner of OrthoPets, formerly specialized in human orthotics. He believed that the same practices used on humans could work on animals, and save them from having to have amputations or be euthanized.

  • Documents on display at the OrthoPets fabrication center and clinic. The small business offers a variety of orthotic and prosthetic devices to help animals with injuries or mobility issues.

  • The OrthoPets fabrication center in Westminster, Colo., where the staff manufactures orthotic and prosthetic devices for animals.

Business Details

Proprietor: Martin Kaufmann
1130 W. 124th Ave. Ste. 900 Westminster, CO 80234
PH: 303-953-2545 / Website
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