3-legged donkey Emma: A lesson for veterinarians

Emma the three-legged donkey looks on as veterinary equine expert Jim Brendemuehl works with his horse Tank in a corral in Auburn, Ala., on Thursday, July 11, 2013. Emma's right hindleg had to be removed shortly after birth because of a congenital defect, and she was outfitted with a prosthetic limb at Auburn University. Experts and students hope their experience treating Emma will allow vets to save more horses and other four-legged animals that would otherwise be euthanized. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — A three-legged donkey named Emma is helping Auburn University veterinarians who hope to save the lives of horses, mules and other hooved animals.

Born with a misshapen right hind leg, Emma underwent surgery last year and has been wearing a prosthetic limb ever since.

Auburn associate professor Fred Caldwell says experts are learning things by treating Emma that could help them develop limbs for larger animals down the road.

Many horses and other animals are now euthanized if they suffer serious leg fractures or have congenital defects at birth.

While Emma is thriving with her prosthetic, the American Association of Equine Practitioners says few such projects are under way nationally.

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