Meet Vincent, Iowa's Bionic Cat

Dec 4, 2015

Vincent is a 3-year-old domestic short-haired cat, and he has something that only a couple dozen animals in the world have - a certain type of titanium-alloy prosthetic hind legs.

Veterinary orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mary Sarah Bergh of Iowa State University worked with orthopedics company BioMedtrix to design implants to be inserted into the femur bones of Vincent’s legs and pass through his skin. She then attached Vincent’s prosthetic legs and has overseen his rehabilitation.

"It's cutting edge, new technology in veterinary medicine," says Bergh. "There is a lot to learn within cats, dogs, and humans. In some cases people have used tech like this in animals as a model for trying to develop new technologies for humans because they face similar problems."

One of the most common problems is infection. Vincent's prosthetics are attached within his bone, while also being exposed to the outside world.

"Using new technologies, we try to get a better seal from the skin and soft tissues around the implant that's exposed to the external environment."

Bergh says that Vincent is doing very well and predicts that he will be able to jump once the prosthetics are extended.

“His bone is looking great. The implants are stable, and he’s walking really well on them."