by Elisa Black-Taylor
Oscar the bionic cat
Good morning readers. Today I'd like to tell you about the world's first bionic cat. Oscar is a green-eyed black cat who lost his legs to a combine harvester in the British Channel Isles in 2009. He qualifies as bionic because of the procedure used to rebuild his legs.
The two year old moggie was operated on by veterinary surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick approximately nine months after the harvester accident.
Here's a YouTube video with Oscar showing off his new "legs."
Metal pegs were surgically inserted by biomedical engineers using a material called hydroxyapatite, which encourages bone growth. This procedure means skin would eventually cover the metal pegs using the same principle as a deer growing antlers through the skin. The pegs themselves were developed in 2006 by Professor Gordon Blunn and his team from University College London.
This new procedure also carries less risk of infection than traditional prosthesis operations.
Oscar's operation led to a BBC documentary television series titled Bionic Vet starring Dr. Fitzpatrick, who operates a multi-million pound state of the art clinic out of Surrey. Oscar may be Dr. Fitzpatrick's first bionic pet, but he certainly isn't the last.
No one knows the cost of this bionic surgery, but chances are it's quite high. So readers, what do you think of this surgery? Personally, I think it's awesome. I would have loved to have found a video of Oscar running. I'm just curious as to how he feels about his new legs.
Photos are courtesy of Dr. Noel Fitzpatick.