A cat who lost all four paws due to frostbite has been given a new lease of life after being fitted with 3D-printed prosthetics.
Dymka, a cat from Novokuznetsk, Russia, lost all of her paws as well as her ears and tail after being subject to icy conditions.
Now, researchers at the Best Veterinary Clinic have performed an operation to give her new ‘paws’ – titanium prostheses created using a 3D printer.
This operation has only ever been been performed once before, meaning Dymka is the second cat in the world with prostheses on all four limbs.
Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University contributed by applying a calcium phosphate coating to the implants, helping to mount them reliably and minimise infection risk.
In a statement about the operation, the researchers explained: “The cat’s new front and rear paws have an individual model that was printed using titanium on a 3D printer.
“To reduce the risk of implant rejection by the cat’s body, the TPU scientists applied a microactive calcium phosphate coating through micro-arc oxidation.
“The external parts of the prosthesis are also printed on a 3D printer and made in the shape of cat’s paws.”
Dymka had the paws implanted seven months ago, and has quickly adapted to them.
The researchers added: “The cat leads a full-on life: she walks, runs, plays, and successfully overcomes stairs.”
The clinic is now working at rebuilding beaks for parrots, and hoofs for cattle