Monday, June 28, 2010

Good News In Bits And Pieces...!

Once in a great while, the smallest bit of good news can help to brighten the day.

For me, this was one of those bits. Enough of these bits added together could make a good day for us all, don't you think?

Maria Cheng - Jun. 25, 2010 09:09 AM
Associated Press

LONDON - Oscar the cat may have lost one of his nine lives, but his new prosthetic paws make him the world's first bionic cat.

After losing his two rear paws in a nasty encounter with a combine harvester last October, the black cat with green eyes was outfitted with metallic pegs that link the ankle to the foot and mimic the way deer antlers grow through skin. Oscar is now back on his feet and hopping over hurdles like tissue paper rolls.

After Oscar's farming accident, which happened when the 2 1/2-year-old-cat was lazing in the sun in the British Channel Isles, his owners, Kate and Mike Nolan, took him to their local veterinarian. In turn, the vet referred Oscar to Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick, a neuro-orthopedic surgeon in Eashing, 35 miles southwest of London.

Together with biomedical engineering experts, Fitzpatrick gave Oscar two metal prosthetic implants that are a bit wobbly, to imitate a cat's natural walk. But first, he covered the brown implants with black tape to match Oscar's fur.

Fitzpatrick said he and biomedical engineers designed the artificial paws so that they would be fused to the bone and skin. "That allows this implant to work as a seesaw on the bottom of the animal's limbs to give him (an) effectively normal gait," he said. "Oscar can now run and jump about as cats should do."

The veterinarians then inserted the peg-like implants by drilling them into Oscar's ankle bones in his rear legs. The metal implants are attached to the bone where Oscar lost his paws and were coated with a substance that helps bone cells grow directly over them. The cat's own skin then grew over the end of the peg to form a natural seal to prevent infections.

After rehabilitation training that taught Oscar how to walk again, the cat was on all four feet in less than four months. Oscar's owners said they hoped his new paws would also further the technology for developing artificial limbs for humans.

"This is a pretty lucky cat," said Dr. Mark Johnston, a veterinarian and spokesman for the British Small Animal Veterinary Association. "Giving a cat artificial limbs is a very novel solution." Johnston said that while there are many "perfectly happy" three-legged cats and dogs, animals that lose two legs do not usually fare as well.

Dogs might cope better with some sort of animal-wheelchair for their back legs, but cats don't usually adapt to that because of their freer lifestyle, he said. "If a cat has two legs that are damaged beyond repair, it's very hard to keep him going," he said. "We would generally euthanize a cat in that situation."

He doubted the technique would be widely available due to the cost and said it was still relatively rare for animals to lose two legs at once. Gordon Blunn, head of biomedical engineering at University College London, who led the effort to make Oscar's fake paws, said they cost about 2,000 pounds ($2,996) to make, not including the cost for the operation itself.

In 2008, Fitzpatrick made an artificial knee for a cat named Missy who was struck by a hit and run driver.

Johnston said the next six months to a year would be critical for Oscar. He said veterinarians would have to closely monitor the feline to make sure no infections, sores or other movement problems crop up.

"It may not last forever, but even if you provide the cat with a few years of pain-free mobility, it may well be worth it," he said.

I could only hope that we can find a bit of pleasant news like this each and every day. I know that I could sure use more!

Why don't we get some fresh coffee and sit outside? Maybe we can find some more "feel good" stories in the paper!


Anonymous said...

Wow, that cat was lucky to survive that encounter. Hope Oscar lives a much more sedate life.

When I was a kid, one of our neighbors had a small poodle that had been run over with a car, crushing its rear legs. What they did was attach half a roller skate (!) to the rear torso, allowing the dog to roll over paved surfaces, pulling itself along.

It worked well from what I could see, and the animal did not appear to feel sorry for itself at any time.

Thanks HermitJim.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

MOrning HJ, I just finished reading this article and watched the online video before reading your post. It was truly amazing to see how well Oscar adapted. Good "feel good" story to start another hot day, so I'll pass on sitting outdoors with coffee.

HermitJim said...

Hey Anon 5:38...
It's amazing what animals can overcome when given a chance! Guess we could all learn from this!

I'm glad that Oscar had the chance to be treated and is doing well!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Beatrice...
I sure am glad to see you this morning!

It's nice to see that some folks still do for animals without expecting something in return, isn't it?

I appreciate you coming by today!

Mechanic in Illinois said...

This cat can now live on to rule over humans. In my house the cats along with the dog live in the house with their housekeeping staff. Thanks for another great lesson.

JoJo said...

Good Morning My Special One
Amazing what is being done these days. Glad the cat has his life back too.
Going to be a great day, coffee on the patio sound wonderful too. Then off to explore and take pictures.

HermitJim said...

Hey Mechanic...
I think all of us that have cats and/or dogs are in that same boat! Our pets often rule the household, allowing us to live there if they want!

Hey, I appreciate the visit today!

Hey JoJo...
Glad you are going exploring around, sweetie! Never know what you may find!

Can't wait to see the pictures! So far the ones of the lakes and the trailer are great!

Thanks for taking the time to come by this morning!

Ken said...

...kinda cool they could get him fixed(uh,i mean repaired)...sad truth,that's alot of money,i would'a said a prayer,and put him down...

...i see him jumping over furniture in slow motion,with that nananananaaa sound,from The Bionic

HermitJim said...

Hey Ken...
I know that I couldn't afford it, but they might have done it for free!

Like you, I don't know what I would have done, but putting him down might have been the only choice!

Thnks for coming by this morning...and reminding me about the theme song for the bionic man! ow it will be stuck in my mind all day!

Zoe said...

Several years ago, visiting my mother's friend on a farm in Indiana, I saw a cat that had a similar unfortunate accident. The cat's rear leg stubs healed up enough, on their own, that it could hobble around and it still lived outdoors with all the other "barn cats". (It disappeared into the brush after the accident and reappeared after several days.) The interesting thing was that the other cats would catch their normal prey and sometimes bring an offering to their disabled friend.

HermitJim said...

Hey Zoe...
I think that sometimes animals show more compassion than we human types do!

I know that they are often quick to adopt babies and orphans fom other species to raise as their own!

Mother Nature does take care of her own, I guess.

Thanks for dropping by today!

Tatersmama said...

I saw the article yesterday, in an online newspaper,(I think, anyway) and it put a smile on my face.
Sometimes the heartwarming stories can really make your day, can't they?