Who Has Bionic Legs
|Oscar lost his two rear paws in an
encounter with a combine harvester in October 2009. Owners Kate and
Mike Nolan took him to their local veterinarian, Peter Haworth. In
turn, the vet referred Oscar to Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick, a
neuro-orthopedic surgeon in Eashing, a few miles southwest of London.
The 2-1/2 year old black cat with green eyes was outfitted with metallic pegs that link the ankle to the foot. Oscar is now back on his feet, walking, running, and jumping.
biomedical engineering experts, Fitzpatrick gave Oscar two metal
prosthetic implants that are a bit wobbly, to imitate a cat's natural
walk. Fitzpatrick said he and biomedical engineers designed the
artificial paws so that they would be fused to the bone and skin. "That
allows this implant to work as a seesaw on the bottom of the animal's
limbs to give him (an) effectively normal gait," he said. "Oscar can
now run and jump about as cats should do."
will probably not be widely used, since the cost
of the prosthetics are approximately $3,000 apiece, plus the cost of
the operation itself.