Another inspirational cat story which can bring many to tears: a 3-year-old domestic short-haired tabby named Vincent. His story started more than two years ago when his owner, Cindy Jones met him at the Story County Animal Shelter in Nevada, Iowa, where she works. Vincent was born with an abnormality in his hind legs and abandoned when he was only a month old.

Jones recalls: “He was surrendered to the shelter by a lady who was camping in a local campground. He was missing his hind legs from the mid-tibia down and when the lady brought him in, you could tell she was pretty worried.”

Jones immediately fell in love with this poor little kitten. That love led her to the Iowa State veterinary hospital, where Dr. Mary Sarah Bergh, and veterinary orthopedics company BioMedtrix. Bergh, who has worked with a wide range of injured species, first tried physical therapy with Vincent but realized early on that endoprosthetics represented the best chance at a normal life for the cat. So she switched the idea to design implants that could be inserted into the femur bones of Vincent’s legs and come out through the skin. The procedure is so rare, Bergh estimates fewer than 25 animals in the world have ever had a similar surgery. Vincent’s recovery has been long, but his future looks bright. He already walks around very well, and his hind legs will continue to be lengthened until they are as long as his front legs. In a press release published by the Iowa State University, Dr. Bergh says he will even be jumping and doing other normal cat activities soon.

Vincent’s implants require some special care. For instance, Jones has to apply an antibiotic spray to his legs twice daily to prevent infections. But, on the whole, Vincent acts like any normal house cat, and Cindy quickly forgives the occasional hiss or scratch.


M. Özgür Nevres

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