In a experimental procedure, a 3-year-old cat named Vincent has been fitted with rare, high-tech titanium prosthetics that attach directly to the bone of his injured limbs. Found abandoned as a kitten with injured back legs, he was immediately adopted by an employee of the Story County Animal Shelter and put on a physical therapy program to help him learn to walk on the stumps of his hind legs. Unfortunately, as he grew, his weight began to put too much pressure on the area, causing him painful sores. That was when his doctor decided to try an innovative new surgery to help Vincent walk like a normal cat.
Dr. Mary Sara Bergh, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Iowa State University’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, knew that the nature of Vincent’s injuries left very little room to attach a traditional prosthetic. Instead, she decided to try a procedure that would implant artificial legs directly into Vincent’s femur bones, passing through his skin.
Veterinary orthopedics company BioMedtrics collaborated with Dr. Bergh, donated time and materials to help design the unusual implants. The titanium shafts will allow Vincent’s bone to grow into the metal to help support his weight, helping to support his weight. Right now, Vincent’s new legs are shorter than the average housecat, but he’ll be receiving further surgeries to lengthen them.
While the implants work much better than more traditional prosthetics strapped to the animal’s back, there is one major disadvantage: because the titanium rods are exposed outside the body, Vincent is at risk of developing an infection. To help reduce the risk, his owner, Cindy Jones, applies a special antibiotic spray on his legs twice a day. So far only 25 other animals in the world have similar prosthetics, so it’s hard to say exactly how Vincent will do in the long term, but for now, Dr. Bergh says he’s recovering well.
Via The Daily Mail