Vincent the cat was born without rear tibias, a deformation that could have spelt death for the wee kitten if some folks hadn’t found him at a campsite. Instead of giving up on Vincent, Dr. Mary Sarah Bergh at Iowa State University built the cat a pair of usable legs using 3D modeling and printing.
Dr. Bergh couldn’t quite figure out how to help Vincent until she worked with Biomedtrix to build extruded titanium-alloy legs that are embedded directly into his bones. The bones grow around the metal and can be modified as the cat grows.
Vincent is 3 years old now and he’s doing quite well.
“I think this does open the door for us to be able to help other animals that have similar problems,” said Dr. Bergh. “And even what we’ve learned just through Vincent’s one case, we’ve actually refined the technique and the implants, so the next cases we do moving forward will be even more successful.”
Vincent is definitely on the cutting edge of cat prosthetics. While many animal lovers are using 3D printing to make little crutches or wagons for injured pets, legs like Vincent’s are amazing in that they take advanced materials and techniques and make them available to the general public. Plus, Vincent looks like a little peg-legged cat pirate, which is also cool.