Earlier this week, we had the Dancing Pooh story and now a second Pooh story which doesn’t quite have dancing yet, but when you go from two paws to four, it’s a victory to be able to walk.
A stray Bulgarian cat name Pooh has become the second one in Europe to receive bionic paws.
Pooh, whose name means “fluff” in Bulgarian, was taken to Sofia’s Central Vet Clinic and can now chase toy mice. His two polymer-and-rubber paws mounted on titanium stems touch the floor make a gentle scuffing sound when he moves.
Pooh’s new paws are due to the groundbreaking work of Bulgarian veterinary surgeon Vladislav Zlatinov, the first vet in Europe to successfully apply the pioneering method of Irish neuro-orthopaedic surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick, who shot to fame in 2009 when making Oscar the first bionic cat by fitting him with new hind legs in Britain.
A month after the black-and-white feline took his first steps after a final graft in December, Zlatinov said this week the procedure could now be considered a success.
“Pooh’s condition is more than satisfactory. There might be some clumsiness but he can walk, jump and run,” the 35-year-old told AFP.
If all goes well, Pooh’s skin will eventually grow over the bone and stem tightly enough to prevent infections, Zlatinov said.
“Cats who lost one leg do pretty well. But what happens if they lose both their hind legs? Yes, they move somehow, but what quality of life are we talking about?” he said.
Zlatinov recently performed a graft on another cat, eight-month-old Steven who also lost both hind legs last year.
“(The operations) give hope that even in a country like Bulgaria innovative things can be done,” Zlatinov said.
Pooh and Steven were brought to the clinic by animal charity Let’s Adopt Bulgaria, which paid for the operations.
The organization reported that Pooh lived well in a small village in North Bulgaria until one day he appeared at the usual place – not right and trailing; not all, but a torn and crushed hind legs .
The reason – Pooh loved chasing mice around the rails of a nearby crossing, probably suffered from a passing train.
When Pooh arrived at the Central Veterinary the clinic , his hind legs ended with two open wounds, protruding bones and severe infection , and the prognosis for life without hind legs was questionable.