Vincent is a 3-year old cat proving the world that lacking two legs is no impediment for living a fulfilled life. Animals with disabilities don’t perceive themselves as different; so we shouldn’t either.
There is no certainty on how exactly he ended up without his back legs; it could have been an injury that happened in utero or it could have been an amputation at some point of his life. But that was his reality when he was found as a kitten.
Whoever found him, delivered him to the County Animal Shelter in Iowa. Sadly, because of his condition he was a poor candidate for adoption and it took time until someone was capable of seeing beyond his disability and give him a chance.
Eventually someone working at the shelter fell in love with him and decided to adopt him and find a way to help him to fully develop his “catness”. This person was Cindy Jones. She took Vincent to Iowa State Veterinary Medical Center, where they first tried physical therapy and a tiny cart to give him mobility.
But soon enough they realized prosthetic implants could give him more chances in life. To achieve this, some team work happened between Dr Mary Sarah Bergh from Iowa State University and BioMedtrix – a veterinary orthopaedics company. They designed some implants for Vincent and prepared a surgery only 25 other animals in the world had had.
The implants were of titanium-alloy and they were inserted into the femur bones coming out through the skin. Their design is meant for Vincent’s bone to grow onto the titanium shafts to support his weight. There is a risk though, since they are exposed to the environment so he can develop infections. To prevent this he needs to be sprayed twice a day.
READ MORE: THIS CAT WAS ALMOST EUTHANIZED BUT NOW HE SPENDS HIS DAYS HEALING PATIENTS AT THE VETERINARY CLINIC THAT SAVED HIM
The implants are short for now because Vincent needs to get used to the prosthesis and their weight gradually. They will eventually be lengthened until they are the same height as his front legs.
Vincent has reacted very positively to his prosthetic legs; they are stable and he is walking really well on them. The hope is that eventually he will also be able to jump. In a way, he is a pioneer in an “emerging field” in veterinary medicine. Hopefully his success will someday help many more animals in need.
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