Curious Cat Walks with Ease on Rare Prosthetic Hind Legs
Here’s why Victor is so special: it is estimated that less than 25 animals in the world have prosthetics like his.
Thanks to his new titanium hind legs, outfitted by the Iowa State Veterinary Medical Center, in Ames, Iowa, the 3-year-old domestic short-haired cat walks with ease around the floor of an exam room. He even wants to jump, but that will come with time, according to a press release.
“I anticipate that he’ll be jumping and doing really normal cat things very soon,” said Dr. Mary Sarah Bergh, the veterinary orthopedic surgeon who attached Vincent’s prosthetic legs and is overseeing his rehab.
The feline was adopted by Cindy Jones of rural Nevada at the Story County Animal Shelter, where someone brought in the kitten with injured legs (his hind legs were missing below the midway point of his tibias, or shinbones) after finding him at a campground. Jones’s daughter, a veterinary student at Iowa State, suggested getting in touch with Bergh, who took on Vincent’s case and decided that endoprosthesis would give the cat the best chance at a normal life.
During two procedures — which took place last year and another this past February — specially designed implants were inserted into the femur bones of Vincent’s legs. Eventually, Vincent’s short titanium legs will be as long as the legs of a regular cat, and he’ll have the ability to jump, too.
Because his legs are unique, Jones needs to tend to them — she has to apply antibiotic spray twice daily to prevent infections. According to the University, Bergh is hopeful her experience with Vincent will inform the use of implants for animals in the future, both by her and others.
“The implants are stable, and he’s walking really well on them,” Bergh said. “I couldn’t be happier with how he’s doing at the current time.”