Bionic cat: Feline patient gets high-tech legs

Bionic cat: Feline patient gets high-tech legs

Oscar bounces back from a leg injury thanks to custom-made implants.
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Jul 01, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

An unfortunate run-in with a combine last October left Oscar, a black farm cat, missing his two hind legs, so his owners thought. A New Jersey veterinary surgical team managed to give Oscar, who lives with his owners in England, his mobility back by designing custom-made implants that actually help Oscar "regrow" his legs.

Oscar’s metallic implants were designed by biomedical engineers to be fused to the bone and skin. They were also coated with a material that encouraged bone and skin to grow directly over them to form a natural seal that helps prevent infections. In away, Oscar’s prosthetic paws mimic the way deer antlers grow through skin. The peg-like implants also came with faux paws on one end that help imitate a cat’s natural walk.

Of course, these artificial limbs weren't cheap. The paws alone cost nearly $3,000 to make. Add the cost of the three-hour surgery and the rehabilitation training to teach Oscar to walk again, and the price grows. But was it worth it? Just take Oscar’s remarkable recovery as proof—he can bear weight equally on all four limbs and is now able to run and jump like other cats do.

Want to see Oscar? Click here.