Stray cats and dogs spend their nights outside on cold winter nights and because of that most animals suffer from frostbite that leaves them with permanent damage. The frostbite makes them disabled and miserable for the rest of their lives. They suffer a lot and because of that most of them are being euthanized and thus relieved from the ongoing agony.
These unfortunate circumstances, is the life story of many animals, but not for the little Ryzhik. This cat with ginger-face suffered from frostbite due to the extremely low temperatures in the city of Tomsk, Siberia. This year, in January, they went down up to – 40 degrees Celsius. At that time Ryzhik was a homeless cat that was left out alone in the cold and suffered the consequences of those extremely low temperatures.
Fortunately, Ryzhik was taken care of by a kind person but it was too late as his condition was too advanced. All his four extremities have been affected by gangrene and there was none existing blood supply so all its four legs need to be amputated. This meant that Ryzhik’s destiny was euthanization.
New Hope for Ryzhik
The new owner of Ryzhik could not allow this to happen to his loving cat and he took it to a prosthetic clinic in Novosibirsk. In this clinic the doctors implanted to this kitten four bionic titanium limbs that were nicely fitted on his stumps. However, the risk in the case of animals with having prosthetic limbs is that they are trying to pry them off. Animals have real issues in getting used to artificial limbs and because of that the doctors for Ryzhik’s designed special limbs.
The surgeons in this clinic manufactured limbs that would be the most suitable ones for this lovely cat. For that process they used computer tomography and 3D modeling and created the most comfortable artificial limbs. Sergey Gorshko, the surgeon in charge of Ryzhik’s case, used titanium limbs that were attached to the cat’s bones, and then the spongy part of the limbs was being attached to his skin in order to permit tissue growth thus making them as almost as his own.
Gorshkov reported the following to the Siberian Times:
“He is definitely the first cat in the world that experienced such surgeries. The limbs have fully connected with the skin and bone. The part of the limb that goes inside the body is spongy; the bone tissue grows inside it. We achieved a good result. We have secured the function of the limb, although part of it has been removed.”
Ryzhik got new limbs and his life became a better one as he could use them although he needed time to adjust. Nonetheless, he is the first cat in the world to walk on four bionic limbs.
Ryzhik’s New Limbs
Ryzhik did not try to remove his new extremities but tried day by day to adjust to this new mobility. Naturally, he could not walk or run confidently as before, but most importantly was that he was mobile. The fact that he did not pry them off meant that he was satisfied with his new type of mobility.
There is a video on YouTube showing how brave Ryzhik is walking down a staircase with his spongy paws. He is not fast and does it step by step but it allows him to go whenever he wants. This brave cat got a second chance.
The clinic of Dr. Gorshkov is trying to find out new ways how to improve the lives of all disabled animals. Currently, the team of surgeons is working on new techniques for attaching prosthetic beaks to parrots and even hoofs to cattle. They are working really hard to give these animals a normal life.
How to deal with frostbite?
As we have seen frostbite can be devastating for many animals and also for your pets if you do not properly take care of them. For that purpose, you need to keep them warm during wintertime by wearing pet apparels like boots, overalls, paw gloves, and hoodies specially made for domestic animals. Your pet should not sit on window sills or walk on snow with their paws uncovered.
In case of frostnip, a milder form of frostbite, you should not dip the limbs directly into hot water. But, warm up a towel with hot water and dab the affected areas according to Pet MD. Make sure to be gentle and to avoid hard squeezing or twisting. If the area affected by frostbite is darkened or filled with smelly fluid, then by all means visit a veterinarian immediately. These are symptoms of gangrene that has already set in and the tissue in the affected area has started to die.