Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
A feline cancer survivor named Cyrano is back in his Upperville, Virginia, home, after receiving a custom-designed, artificial knee last Thursday during a six-hour surgery at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
“It was a bit of an adventure, but it went very smoothly,” says Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little, who headed up the eight-person team, which included surgeons from Houston, Texas, and Washington, D.C. It took researchers more than six months to develop the lipstick-size implant, which was carefully crafted out of cobalt chromium and dense plastic.
“There was a moment of suspense when we placed the implant,” says Dr. Marcellin-Little. “The fit had to be very precise, and it was a leap of faith to trust that it would fit.”
Fortunately, it did. “We’re very happy that the first hurdle has been jumped,” says Dr. Marcellin-Little. “Now we have to allow the tissues to reattach and heal.”
Cyrano isn’t the first feline to get an artificial knee. Britain's Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick performed a total knee replacement in 2009 on a cat named Missy, whose leg was crushed by a car. However, the North Carolina State University surgery is unique because the prosthetic knee was custom-made for Cyrano and implanted through a technique that fuses engineered components into the leg. The process, called osseointegration, creates a strong, permanent bond between living bone and the implant. “It’s more like the type of implant used in humans,” Dr. Marcellin-Little explains.
Cyrano’s knee was weakened after undergoing radiation therapy in 2010 to treat cancer. While the cancer is in total remission, the 20-pound, 10-year old tabby could no longer stand on the painful left hind leg. Owner Sandy Lerner’s search for alternatives to amputation led her to Dr. Marcellin-Little and North Carolina State. Although much of the work was done pro bono, Lerner still spent more than $20,000 to cover the cost of the materials. Dr. Marcellin-Little hopes that the procedure will be more available and more affordable in the not-too-distant future.
Cyrano is resting comfortably and should be walking on all fours in a matter of days. “We’d like him to take it easy for about three months,” Dr. Marcellin says. “And then he can go back to being himself.”
See also: High-Tech Prosthetics Give Exotic Animals and Everyday Pets a New Lease on Life.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
From offering treats to keeping dog
shampoo out of your pup's eyes, here are
six ways to make bath time less…
Do you think dogs show guilt when they
misbehave or chew up your favorite
things to punish you? You heard wrong.
You usually don't need to worry about this
behavior, but sometimes it can indicate a
medical issue or anxiety…
The wavy-coated Cornish Rex might not be able to speak English, but she knows how to get her point across.
Parasites are no fun for dogs. Learn how
to protect your canine from heartworms,
hookworms, whipworms and more.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.