Hips & Limbs

Injured Animals Get Fresh
Start from Biotech Research

Zoops the goat, Molly the horse, Fuji the dolphin, and Tripod the llama, were all healthy animals going about their business until tragedy struck: they all lost some valuable part of their bodies and faced the prospect of never being able to walk or gallop or swim or graze ever again.
Instead, they’re all fine, thanks to advances in biotechnology and prosthetics research. In fact, none exhibits any signs of the harrowing experiences that almost ended their lives. Take that, you doomsayers Aldous Huxley and George Orwell.
Of course, these animals and countless of others are now success histories mainly because of the care they received from dedicated doctors, who nursed them all back to health.
Take Oscar the cat, for example. When a harvester severed both his back legs, it could have been the end for what pretty much defines what means to be a cat.
Enters a team of veterinarians who custom-made special implants to attach to his ankle bones, coated them with hydroxyapatite to encourage bone cells to grow onto the metal, and voilá, Oscar is back to his old hunting grounds with a brand new pair of feet.
And if science is doing it for farm animals and cats, there’s no reason not to do it for endangered species too. That’s the case of Girl, an eight-year old Malayan tigress, who’d been exhibiting the painful symptoms of arthritis since last summer.
Vets at the University of Leipzig booked her for a hip replacement surgery, a complex operation even for humans. The fact that she’s part of an endangered species, one estimated to have left only 500 animals in the wild, was just one of the reasons to perform the surgery, but not the main one.
Girl’s still recovering but with luck, she still has some 12 or more years left to grace us with her presence.
So go ahead and entertain any brand of nightmarish visions that suits your mistrust about the future. Mad doctors, unholy experiments with somebody’s flesh, wayward toasters chasing you around the house, there’s really no limit as to how you may scare the bejesus out of your fellow troopers. And yourself.
But as we speak, advances in the field of robotics, artificial intelligence and, yes, biotechnology, are pointing instead to the development of tools for improving the lives of humans and animals, not only defense contractors.
It’s been a long way since the days we sent Ham, the chimp, to do our bidding in space, and literally, rewarded him with not so much as an unlimited supply of bananas. For all we know, he could’ve died a tragic death, but even as a survivor, he saved countless of human lives.
And that’s really nice, but don’t get too comfortable. Just the other day, this mad doctor walked into a bar, with a few toasters in a leash, and…

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