Medicine has dramatically evolved through the years, leading to increased access to care and improved quality of life. The revolutionary technology advances have changed the practice of medicine and saved billions of lives.
Nowadays, advanced medical methods offer adequate care for our beloved little fellows and pets as well. After she lost her paws to frostbite, a Russian cat received 3D-printed prosthetics from titanium, that help her walk, run, and even climb the stairs again.
The 4-year-old Dymka ( “mist” in Russian) was found in December 2018 in the snow in Novokuznetsk in Siberia.
A passing driver took the grey cat to a clinic in Novosibirsk, and veterinarians concluded that she suffered from frostbite of the tail, ears, and paws.
Veterinarian Sergei Gorshkov had to amputate those damaged extremities.
“There are two likely scenarios: Either she ran away or she fell out of the window. Unfortunately, frostbite in animals is a very real problem in Siberia.”
He explained that they usually treat at least five to seven cats suffering from frostbite during the severe Siberian winters. When the cold temperature freezes the skin and tissue, it causes frostbite.
In the most severe cases, the tissue dies, and the extremities need to be amputated.
Gorshkov and his team at the clinic collaborated with researchers from Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) in Tomsk, Russia, and designed a set of prosthetics for Dymka.
The calcium phosphate coating scientists developed was applied to mount the titanium implants that were inserted and fused into the leg bones, and to lower the risk of infection and implant rejection.
A paper published in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research explained that the titanium is used “as biomaterial” in prosthetics due to its compatibility “with living tissue.”
With the help of computerized tomography (CT) X-ray scans of her legs, they managed to model and then 3D print the titanium rods.
In July 2019, Dymka got her prosthetic implants, first in her front legs and then in her hind legs.
The veterinary clinic posted a video in December, seven months afterward, and it showed Dymka walking around the room, stretching after a nap, and playing with a fringe on a blanket.
The video also revealed the titanium rods joined to her legs, and her “feet” made of flexible black material with textured bottoms.
This was not the first time veterinarians at this clinic design metal prosthetics for a cat. In 2016, a male cat, Ryzhik, also received titanium implants after a quadruple amputation of his frostbitten feet.
It was reported that Dymka was adopted by the woman who rescued her from the harsh cold.
The cat with a stormy character now leads the typical life of a house cat, and Gorshkov said:
“She runs, jumps and plays. Her owner sends videos of how she moves. It’s a great result. We are very pleased. We did not expect this…”
And we are very happy for her!