A three-year-old domestic cat named Vincent was born with an abnormality where he didn’t have full working hind legs like a regular kitten would have. As a result, the cat has struggled its entire life to get around, and hindered his ability to do what other cats can do at his age.
The owner of the cat, Cindy Jones, found it injured, which is when she fell in love with it and wanted to take it home to give it a good life. The owner tried physical therapy and various other forms of giving the cat the ability to walk like a normal cat, but wasn’t so luck at getting the process to be successful.
Fortunately, however, medical researchers at Iowa State University have provided Vincent with an advanced set of titanium prosthetic legs that are helping Vincent to get around. Although Vincent can’t jump around just yet, he is getting up and walking and it’s expected that he’ll get more used to the prosthetic legs and become more daring in the future.
“I anticipate that he’ll be jumping and doing really normal cat things very soon,” said Dr. Mary Sarah Bergh, the orthopedic that oversaw the attachment of the new titanium prosthetic legs.
The way that the titanium legs are made is so that the femur bone of Vincent’s legs can grow into the titanium legs, giving it a way to grow support and grow with Vincent. This, of course, leaves some exposure to the world, which is why the cat must be treated with ongoing antibiotics to prevent infection.
While the initial surgery to add the titanium prosthetic legs occurred in 2014, there have been other surgeries up to this point that have made the legs longer and that have improved the walking conditions for Vincent. Soon, the legs will be lengthened to the same length of the hind legs of a healthy cat, which will give Vincent time to learn the legs by the time they’re normal length.
“His bone is looking great. The implants are stable, and he’s walking really well on them,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier with how he’s doing at the current time.”
The research is being used for training that will assist in future cases like Vincent’s, such that additional house pets can undergo similar treatments when they’re unable to walk due to injury or birth defects.
Source: Iowa State University