Sergei Gorshkov, a veterinarian based in Novosibirsk, Russia, has used Additive Manufacturing to produce four titanium prosthetics to replace the paws of a stray cat which had lost its feet to freezing temperatures in Siberia, reports Reuters.
“Generally, these cats try to keep themselves warm and stand up on the tips of their paws. Their paws, ears, noses and tails can freeze,” he stated. Ryzhik also lost his ears to frostbite.
The prosthetics were implanted in the cat’s forelegs using a technique similar to that used when people receive dental implants. To minimise the risk of rejection and infection, the team created, and applied, a bio-coating of calcium phosphate to each implant.
Gorshkov believes that Ryzhik was one of the first cats in the world to have four titanium prosthetics implanted using this technique.
Since this first successful implant was carried out, he has repeated the procedure on another cat named Dymka.
“She runs, jumps and plays,” he stated. “Her owner sends videos of how she moves. It’s a great result. We are very pleased. We did not expect this.”
Gorshkov explained that he has also used this technique on small dogs, but noted that it cannot be applied to all animals.