We are passionate about keeping dogs and their people active together. This senior design project by a team at CSU has great potential for doing just that for dogs that are fighting a debilitating neurological disease like DM. We are excited to see how this project develops and wanted to share that enthusiasm with you. Check it out! - Amber Q. 

Guest post by Hannah Mikelson, Mechanical Engineering Senior at Colorado State University

Hello fellow dog lovers!


My name is Hannah and I am a member of the Canine Exoskeleton for Rehabilitation project! Myself and five other biomedical, mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering students at Colorado State University are passionate about helping dogs and are building a rehabilitation device as part of our senior design capstone project. When completed, this device will help large dogs with neurological disabilities and hind limb paresis regain motor function and muscle tone!

Why is there a need for such a device?

While many dogs are afflicted by neurological diseases such as degenerative myelopathy, intervertebral disc disease, and acute peripheral nerve diseases, large dogs are especially difficult to handle in a rehabilitation setting. Rehabilitation Specialists at veterinary hospitals not only have to lift 100lb dogs, they also have to move the dogs’ limb in a semi-natural movement to help the canine relearn how to walk. This is a great burden to put on the dog caretaker. After speaking with specialists and veterinarians at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and meeting recovering canines, our team was motivated to build a device that would alleviate many of these difficulties. Our exoskeleton will do this by supporting the dog’s weight, moving the hind limbs at specified speeds and ranges of motion determined by the caretaker, and allow for variable support and movement based on the dog’s stage of recovery!

How does it work?

This exoskeleton will incorporate many motors, sensors, pneumatics, and a lot of cool engineering stuff! Once fully developed, the device will be tested in a controlled rehabilitation setting on dogs with varying neurological damage and hind limb paresis.


By working with the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital and local canine prosthetics company, OrthoPets, we have gained great insight into how our device may be utilized, and have had incredible opportunities to meet the dogs that our device may help in the near future! I cannot think of a better way to finish my college career, than to help save lives of our canine companions.

If you or someone you know has had a dog that could benefit from this device, we would love to hear about your experience! Please reach out to us by email at hlmikels@rams.colostate.edu.

Want to learn more about or project? Please visit our website here.

We are fundraising!

Are you interested in supporting this life-improving project?  Please donate to our crowdfunding campaign here. (Hurry! Our campaign ends November 9th!)

Or by donating through CSU here. (In the comments section please write: “Donation to Canine Exoskeleton for Rehabilitation”).

The Canine Exoskeleton for Rehabilitation Senior Design Team

The Canine Exoskeleton for Rehabilitation Senior Design Team