A female cat in Russia who lost all four of her paws due to being cold can now walk, run normally, or even go up and down stairs with ease.
Veterinarians replaced its lost feet with 3D printed prostheses made from titanium.
The 4-year-old gray cat Dymka (Russian called mist) was found by a driver in December 2018 buried in cold snow in Novokuznetsk (Siberia). Then he took the cat to a veterinary center in the city of Novosibirsk. Dymka has frostbite in his feet, ears and tail. Veterinarian Sergei Gorshkov had to amputate four of the injured limbs to save the cat’s life.
During the harsh Siberian winters, veterinarians in the city of Novosibirsk often treat at least 5-7 cats with frostbite in their feet, ears and nose, Gorshkov told The Moscow Times. The cold in this area can cause skin and tissue to freeze, especially in the extremities. In severe cases, tissue dies and limb amputation is required.
Gorshkov and colleagues at the center have teamed up with researchers from Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) in Tomsk, Russia to create a prosthetic for Dymka. Scientists have developed and applied a coating made of calcium phosphate to help attach titanium implants, insert and fuse into the cat’s bones, minimizing the risk of infection and reaction from the implant.
The researchers used Dymka’s leg-scanning computerized X-ray (CT) method to model and then 3D print titanium bars. Dymka received a prosthetic leg transplant in July 2019, first on the front legs and then on the hind legs.
Dymka is currently the second cat in the world to have four metal prostheses implanted. In 2016, the Novosibirsk City Veterinary Center performed a similar case, implanting titanium on a male cat named Ryzhik who had had four legs amputated because of the cold.