Bionic Cat Oscar: How Did a Black Cat Become a Bionic Cat?
Bionic Cat Oscar – a black cat with warm and loving personality had a tragic accident and lost his hind legs. But he walks with all four legs now. This is where super vet, Noel Fitzpatrick in England comes in a picture, the procedures were not easy, but the result is amazing. We will take a look at how far our technology has come and what it can do now.
Bionic Cat Oscar’s Unusual Destiny
Oscar the black cat who lived in Jersey, largest of the Channel Islands.
<>strongIt was back in October 2009, his fateful day had come. He might have been taking a nap at the corn field that day. Woke up to find that he lost his two hind legs to a combine harvester with agonizing pain.
He was taken to the local vet first, then to the pioneering veterinary surgeon, professor Noel Fitzpatrick.
But this is not the first time for Oscar to be injured seriously.
He was hit by a car, not just once, but twice. The first time he was hit by a car on a not very busy road and he made it home himself. He seemed ok, but in fact, his urinary tract and tail was damaged and had complex surgery.
The second time, not long after he was recovered from the first accident, he was hit by a car again. This time he dislocated his hip and he was less than two years old, yet.
Noel Fitzpatrick aka Supervet
Oscar already lost a quite amount of blood, and on the verge of the death.
There was only options, put him to sleep or take a chance on a novel technology. Noel Fitzpatrick was the only hope Owners had.
If I can provide pain-free, functional quality of life, it’s morally right to do the procedure. If you don’t have that reasonable hope, it’s not morally right to put the animal through it.
He is a pioneer in prosthetic surgery and runs a state-of-the-art practice with all modern veterinary facilities. He already succeeded implanting prosthetic paw into Storm, a Belgian shepherd dog.
Two Legs Replaced with New Ones
There was no previous instance for an animal to have two feet replaced. Professor Fitzpatrick suggested a radical surgery that would involve
fusing metal and bone.
This was not going to be an easy operation, owners had a difficult time to make a decision whether go with it or not. Professor Noel Fitzpatrick felt there was hope for Oscar.
The decision was made. Oscar was on the operating table.
The three-hour operation took place on November 13, in 2009 and was a success.
This operation was a groundbreaking one, a fusion of technologies advancing veterinary and human medicines in tandem, which Fitzpatrick call
the principle of One Medicine.
Fitzpatrick and his colleagues drilled holes into what remained of Oscar’s legs and attached special metal implants.
Eventually, Oscar’s skin is expected to over the implants so the prosthetic attachment will become a part of his body. So did it.
He stayed in England until he healed well enough to go back home since it’s thought to be too much stress for him to commute between Jersey and England. Oscar finally went home in 2011.
In 2012, one of his implants broke and went under the operation again. He’d been under the knife a lot and still going strong. Oscar is truly a patient and a vital cat!
The prosthetic pegs, which were attached to Oscar’s rest legs were developed by a team from University College London led by Professor Gordon Blunn, who is head of UCL’s Centre for Biomedical Engineering. The pegs actually are called intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics (Itaps).
Professor Blunn and his team have worked in partnership with Mr. Fitzpatrick to develop these weight-bearing implants, combining engineering mechanics with biology.
According to Blunn, these implants securely attach the external prosthesis to the skeleton. The key to this invention is a soft tissue skin seal, which prevents bacterial infection.
The development of these implants has involved computer modeling, nanotechnology, and implant design. They are working on to find novel electrodes to avoid some of the problems due to the limit of the control of these prostheses.
All these procedures Oscar underwent devoted the next generation biomedical engineering, which should benefit all the animals including humans.
Also published on Medium.