Oscar the Cat – who had his back feet severed by a tractor – is walking again with a new pair of bionic limbs.
The operation was successfully conducted by Noel Fitzpatrick, a veterinary surgeon based in Surrey, UK.
According to the BBC, the new feet are custom-made implants that effectively “peg” the ankle to the foot.
The prosthetic pegs, known as intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics (Itaps), 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 real revolution with Oscar is [that] we have put a piece of metal and a flange into which skin grows into an extremely tight bone,” explained Fitzpatrick.
“We have managed to get the bone and skin to grow into the implant and we have developed an ‘exoprosthesis’ that allows this implant to work as a see-saw on the bottom of an animal’s limbs to give him effectively normal gait.”
Itap technology is currently being tested on humans and has already been used to created a prosthetic limb for a woman who lost her arm during the July 2005 London terrorist bombings.