Frostbite injuries are capable of leaving a devastating impact on whoever suffers them.

In some cases, the impact is so severe that the only way to save the patient is through amputating the frostbitten area.

After amputation, the victim’s quality of life never remains the same.

In most cases, they become dependent on physical assistance and sometimes even emotional assistance.

Suffice to say, the number of cases where people have survived frostbite injuries without any form of amputation are quite limited.

Recently however, due to technological advancements, there have been interesting developments in the world of prosthetics.

Now amputees have the option of incorporating prosthetics in place of their amputated limbs to reintroduce some form of convenience back to their lives.

Moreover, there are different types of prosthetics out there these days.

Initially, they were not functional and the only purpose they usually served was to fill out the amputated areas.

Modern prosthetics however, are quite functional and strong. People have benefitted from them greatly, and claimed to have gained back most of their physical independence.

That said, human beings are not the only one who have to undergo leg amputations for some of the diseases and injuries they suffer, animals do too.

In fact, numerous pet owners out there had to make the tough decision to save their pet’s life by choosing to amputate their limb/limbs.

Amputation And Its Devastating Impact On Animals

Few things are as painful as looking at a helpless animal who cannot even communicate about the pain they are in. Virtually animal is heavily dependent on their unique and superior physical prowess – it is what helps them survive and thrive in the open.

Facing a disability due to a severe ailment, frostbite or injury remarkably deteriorates their quality of life.

Things like these make you wonder if technology would go far enough where there is a functional prosthetic solution as well. Well, the wait is over – animal prosthetics are a thing now.

Although they are yet to reach the level of functionality that human prosthetics have, they are more than capable of doing the job.

The case of a Russian cat by the name of Dymka is evidence enough that animals too can live a healthy and fulfilling life by benefitting from technological advancements. Let us take a close look at Dymka’s case.

Dymka’s Frostbite Injury

Just like the most devastating scenarios of human frostbite injuries need amputation, feline frostbite induced injury requires amputation too.

Dymka was about to face the same fat that most severely frostbitten cats do, however, luck was on her side.

Dymka was frostbitten and laying on the ground in the cold Siberian weather. The cat was in excruciating pain and its condition was getting worse by the second. 

Fortunately, a woman came across Dymka and immediately took the cat to Sergei Gorshkov, a renowned Russian veterinarian. Numerous Russian pet owners relied on his skills and knowledge to nurse their pets back to optimum health.

Therefore, when Sergei examined Dymka, he stated that the frostbite was too severe and the only thing to prevent it from damaging the cat further would be to amputate its legs.

This news was quite devastating to the woman who bought Dymka in, as she had not hoped to see a feline as beautiful as this one suffer from a physical disability.

Being distraught, Sergei decided to look at the cat and see if there would be a better alternative to the problem. He also had his colleagues examine the cat quickly to see if the situation was salvageable.

Later on, they concluded that it indeed was. This was a particularly tough spot because it was not just one limb that was about to be amputated, all four of them were.

Therefore, after careful deliberation Sergei decided to install titanium prosthetics on Dymka.

Initially, he did not believe that the prosthetics would do much good but as Dymka recovered, he realized that not opting to amputate was the right choice.

Only The Second Cat With Prosthetics

Dymka became only the world’s second cat that got all of its paws replaced with titanium prosthetics.

What’s more astonishing about this story is that initially, the cat was in such bad shape that the doctors were contemplating on amputating its ears and tail too. They did end up cutting the tail away but they only cut a portion of its ears.

The Novosibirsk clinic has a team of experienced veterinarians who have overseen numerous feline frostbite cases over the years.

In most cases, they had to amputate the frostbitten area, but in Dymka’s particular case, things were different. Implanting the titanium prosthetics proved the right decision as the cat’s progress after a year of recovery was truly remarkable.

According to the Moscow Times, Dymka was fortunate to land in Gorshkov’s safe hands. He left no stone unturned to ensure that the cat received first-rate treatment.

He teamed up first rate researchers and engineers to develop prosthetics made from titanium just to replace the injured cat’s paws.

After the surgery in late July 2019, Dymka bounced back and is as active as any other feline.

The First Cat

The first ever cat to receive a prosthetic limb replacement also suffered from a case of frostbite. Its case is quite similar to that of Dymka.

You may even find it surprising that Sergei was the one who installed the prosthetic limbs on this cat. The red and scruffy cat’s name was Ryzhik, and just like Dymka, it now lives the regular life of a feline.

How Did Engineers Develop The Titanium Paws?

The team that Sergei put together took CT scans and developed a three dimensional model of Dymka’s paws, and legs separately.

The designed the legs by closely following the 3D model and to make sure that the feline’s body accepts the new limbs, the team used a process known as micro arc oxidation.

It helped to fuse the cat’s leg bones with ease.

The implant paws closely resembled the cat’s real paws – they were flexible and had functional bottoms to ensure that the cat could stride and jump without pain.

The surgical procedure involved two parts. The first part focused on the cat’s front legs while the second part was for the rear legs.

Suffice to say, technology can do wonderful things and Dymka’s case is a perfect demonstration of that.

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