Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy News - Oscar Gets New Legs

Oscar gets new legs

The bottom half of Oscar's back legs were sliced off by a combine harvester nine months ago. That would be a death sentence for most pets, but breakthrough surgery has given him a shot at another of his proverbial nine lives.

When Oscar was first found after the accident, he was very weak and had lost a lot of blood. Oscar's owners, Kate Allen and Mike Nolan, were told to expect the worst.

Veterinarian Peter Haworth covered Oscar's wounds and got him comfortable by administering cat painkillers, but there was little else he could do. Cats are able to have a comfortable life on three legs, but not with just two.

Allen and Nolan got in contact with another veterinary surgeon, Noel Fitzpatrick, to seek further treatment at his state-of-the-art practice.

"It was very much a three way communication time, a lot of e-mails, pictures and x-rays flying around and Noel pretty quickly decided Oscar was a good patient," said Nolan.

In the three hour operation, Oscar had metal holes drilled into what remained of his legs so that special implants – known as ITAPs - could be attached. The skin accepted the metal legs and started new growth around the legs.

This groundbreaking operation will eventually pave the way for the procedure to be replicated on humans.

As for Oscar, he has successfully adapted to his new legs, much to the relief of his owners, although for now, he will have to remain a house-cat because his limbs aren't suitable for outdoor activity.

The prosthetic legs were developed by a team from University College London, England, led by Professor Gordon Blunn.

The Itap technology has already been used to create a prosthetic limb for a woman who lost her arm in the July 2005 London bombings.

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