For most animals that have permanent damage from frostbite, they generally spend the rest of their lives miserable and disabled. Sometimes, however, they are euthanized to save them from the pain, which is unfortunately a common occurrence.
For this lucky ginger-face, though, it was not yet his time. Poor little Ryzhik (that’s Russian for Redhead or Ginger) suffered terrible injuries from the bitterly cold temperatures in the city of Tomsk, Siberia. Back in January of this year, when the temperatures dropped to a low as -40 degrees Celsius, homeless Ryzhik was accidentally left out in the cold all alone.
The poor baby was taken in by a kind-hearted person who cared for him. Unfortunately, his condition was already way too advanced. Gangrene – total tissue death due to cut-off blood supply – had sunk in, and Ryzhik was in a lot of pain. All four of his limbs needed to be amputated and it looked then as if his fate had already been decided.
The kitty was rushed off to a prosthetic clinic in Novosibirsk where four bionic titanium limbs were fitted on his stumps. A problem with fitting animals with prosthetic limbs is that they’ll generally keep trying to pry them off. Getting acclimated to artificial limbs is a difficult process, however, Ryzhik’s surgeons had this in mind while designing special limbs for the feline.
Using computer tomography and 3D modeling, they were able to manufacture the most comfortable limbs that would suit the cat just right. According to Sergey Gorshko, who was the surgeon in charge of Ryzhik’s case, the titanium limbs were attached to the cat’s bones. The spongy part of the limbs was attached to his skin to allow tissue growth.
“He is definitely the first cat in the world who experienced such surgeries,” stated Gorshkov to the Siberian Times. “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.”
Today, Ryzhik is the very first cat in the world to walk on four bionic limbs.
While Ryzhik is not walking or running as confidently as he may have before, he’s not trying to remove the limbs. This is a true sign that he loves his new mobility and would get used to the limbs with time. A video which was uploaded on YouTube shows the brave Ryzhik walking down a staircase with his spongy paws. He was being careful and taking it easy, however, he’s one brave cat.
Dr. Gorshkov’s clinic is currently working on new solutions to giving disabled animals a chance at a normal life. They are now pioneering new techniques for attaching prosthetic beaks to parrots and even hoofs to cattle.
Dealing with frostbite in your pets
To keep your pets absolutely safe from the harsh realities of requiring amputation and prosthetic limbs, it’s imperative to always keep them warm throughout the winter. There are many pet apparels such as overalls, paw gloves, boots, and hoodies made for domestic animals. Your pets shouldn’t be allowed to sit on window sills or even step out into the snow with their paws uncovered.
According to Pet MD, if you happen to notice a frostnip – a milder form of frostbite –, warm up a towel with hot water and dab the affected areas. Do not attempt to dip the limbs directly into hot water. Make sure not to squeeze hard or twist. Gently dab. The animal might experience as the area begins to thaw, but if it looks darkened or filled with smelly fluid, be sure to consult a veterinarian immediately. This means gangrene has begun to set in and tissue in the affected area is dying.
We here at The Best Cat Page wish Ryzhik the very best!