Oscar, a cat from the Channel Island of Jersey (between England and France), is a walking miracle!

In October of 2009, when Oscar was just two years old,  he met with a horrific accident while he was in a maize field.  A combine harvester cut off his back legs between his ankle and his feet.  A cyclist found him and brought Oscar to his "mum and dad’s" home.  Oscar’s "parents",  Mike Nolan and Kate Allan, fearing that they would be advised to have Oscar euthanised, rushed Oscar to their local vet, Dr. Peter Haworth of the New Era Veterinary Hospital.  Dr. Haworth immediately contacted another vet, Dr. Noel Fizpatrick, of www.fitzpatrickreferrals.co.uk,  a world-renowned state-of-the-art practice in Surrey, England, which specializes in small-animal neuro-orthopedics.

Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick

Dr. Fitzpatrick, a pioneer in his field, has developed many novel techniques and technologies to save his animal patients from being euthanised. After reviewing Oscar’s x-rays and photos and much discussion with Dr. Haworth and Oscar’s "parents",  Dr. Fitzpatrick stated that, due in part  to Oscar’s young age,  he would make an ideal candidate for a revolutionary new procedure he had been developing: bionic cat legs. 

Oscar was flown to the United Kingdom to meet with Dr. Fitzpatrick and his team while Oscar’s "mum" and "dad" did a lot of "soul-searching" before agreeing to go ahead with the ground-breaking procedure.

The first video shows Oscar enthusiastically using his new legs and the second is a follow-up.  There’s a lot more of Oscar’s story below the second video.

This second video shows Oscar after he has had time to heal, now filled with prosthetic flexible paws instead of the pegs. This allows him to move around easier and have a more realistic "cat-like" walk. To me it doesn’t even really look like he has "bionic-legs", more like he has really adorable little "booties" on.

Collaborators & ITAP

Interestingly, Dr. Fitzpatrick claims to have got the idea of  bionic legs for animals from the character Wolverine of the original X Men movie. Dr. Fitzpatrick  had previously used this novel idea on a labrador dog with chronic crippling arthritis, but never on a cat.

Dr. Fitzpatrick collaborated with Gordon Blunn and colleagues of  the University College London’s Centre for Biomedical Engineering to create steel rods coated with hydroxylapatite, known also as hydroxyapatite, (the official name for them is intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics –ITAPs).  These were drilled into what was left of Oscar’s hind legs. The material itself, combined with the way it is attached, encourages the bones cells and skin to grow onto the rods creating a seal to prevent infection.  This mimics a natural process, similar to the way deer grow antlers. The ITAP technology is now being tested on humans.

Dr. Fitzpatrick currently appears on a BBC 1 television series, The Bionic Vet.  I have not found this show available on U.S. TV yet, but hope that it will air here soon.

Thank You

A huge kudos and thank you to Dr. Fitzpatrick and his team for his pioneering work, to Dr. Haworth for having the insight to contact Dr. Fitzpatrick, for Gordon Blunn of University College London and all who worked on the ITAPs, to Oscar’s "parents", Kate Allan and Mike Nolan who agreed to go ahead with the pioneering surgery and to the cyclist who found Oscar in the field.  Thank you all for daring to create a world that you and Oscar desire to live in.

Blessings to Oscar

And finally huge meows of love to Oscar.  You are one fabulous feline.  The love, dedication, collaboration and innovation you have inspired in others is astounding and has impacted people around the world.  You, dear Oscar, are simply spectacular, or may I say, spec-"CAT" -ular!  Blessings to you for a long, healthy and joyful life.

 

Much of this story is compiled courtesy of Wikipedia and Cnet news.