Vincent the cat recently received high-tech titanium alloy prosthetic hind legs during a procedure performed at Iowa State University.
“I anticipate that he’ll be jumping and doing really normal cat things very soon,” says Mary Sarah Bergh, DVM, MS, DACVS, DACVSMR, an Iowa State University (ISU) veterinary orthopedic surgeon, in a news release from Iowa State University. She performed the procedure to attach Vincent’s prosthetic legs and is guiding his rehabilitation.
Bergh, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery in the ISU Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, estimates in the release that Vincent is one of only a few dozen animals in the world who have received these same sort of prostheses.
Cindy Jones, who works at the Story County Animal Shelter in Nevada, Iowa, first laid eyes on Vincent when someone brought him to the shelter as a kitten after finding him at a campground.
“I took one look at him and fell in love,” Jones says in the release.
Cindy took the kitten home to try to help Vincent. At that point, his hind legs were missing below his shinbones, and it is uncertain how he was injured.
Cindy’s daughter, Emily Jones, who attends veterinary school at Iowa State, thought Bergh might be able to help the cat.
Bergh first tried physical therapy with Vincent, but then realized that endoprosthetics would work best for him.
Working with BioMedtrix, a veterinary orthopedics company, Bergh designed implants that could be inserted into the femur bones of Vincent’s legs and pass through his skin.
The implants’ design enables Vincent’s bone to grow onto the titanium shafts to support his weight, the release explains.
His first surgery took place in February 2014, and he took his first steps a few days afterward. A second surgery followed in February 2015, and he has undergone subsequent treatments to gradually lengthen the prosthetic legs. Eventually, they will grow to be as long as the average house cat, per the release.
Bergh notes in the release that Vincent is doing well.
“His bone is looking great. The implants are stable, and he’s walking really well on them,” she says. “I couldn’t be happier with how he’s doing at the current time.
However, since the titanium shaft is exposed to the environment, this puts Vincent at risk for infection. To prevent this from occurring, Jones must apply an antibiotic spray to his legs twice daily.
Bergh states in the release that the experience with Vincent may help her and other veterinary orthopedic surgeons to expand and improve the use of implants for animals in the future.
[Source: Iowa State University, Healthday]