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Bionic bodies: The animals with artificial additions

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When catastrophe strikes a beloved pet, people go to any lengths to help them - whether that's an hours-long operation to replace a leg, or a fundraising drive to pay for a new tail. So, from the cat with bionic paws to the goose with a prosthetic beak, here are some animals - with extras.

Prosthetic puss

Image copyright Jim Incledon

Not a new children's book - although perhaps it should be - the Cat with the Bionic Paws is Oscar, a friendly all-black feline from Jersey whose back feet were chopped off by a combine harvester while he was dozing in a sunny maize field.

Oscar, who was aged two-and-a-half when the accident happened in 2010, was first treated by a local vet who managed to stop the bleeding and dress the wounds.

He was then flown over to Surrey where vet Noel Fitzpatrick fitted the cat with new feet.

The prosthetic pegs, snappily called intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics (Itaps) were developed by a team from University College London.

The Itap technology has been used in humans, including to create a prosthetic for a woman who lost her arm in the July 2005 London bombings.

Image copyright bbc
Image caption Oscar's smart pink socks kept his back stumps in good condition until he could have his bionic paws fitted

Beaky blinder

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Media captionWatch Tilly the goose get used to his new beak

The goose that got the plastic beak is Tilly who - despite his name - is male. He lost half of his bill as a gosling when he ate some barbed wire.

He had compensated over the years by using his tongue instead of the lower mandible - but when he was about seven years old, this became too difficult.

Rather than give up on Tilly and have him put down when he could no longer feed, his owner Frances Hall took him to vet Andy MacGregor.

Mr MacGregor, with the help of a local dentist, made an implant and a false beak out of plastic.

Ms Hall, from Ilkley, West Yorkshire described her feathered friend as "like a dog; he follows me around everywhere."

Roll model

Image copyright Highcroft Veterinary Hospital
Image caption Free-wheeler: Touché has had a new lease of life

Touché the tortoise had a nasty accident at his home in Bristol and vets had to decide whether to amputate one of his legs, or put him to sleep.

Happily for the three-legged slowcoach, staff at Highcroft Veterinary Hospital removed a leg before using resin to stick the chassis of a toy car to the the underside of his shell.

Touché is now "zooming around the garden as if nothing has happened," according to owner Lisa Purnell.

He is not the only beshelled creature to benefit from the technique.

Harriet, from Kent, has two wheels fitted to the rear of her carapace after being injured by a rat, while Jack, from Ledbury in Herefordshire, lost a back leg to a strimmer when his owner was tidying up the garden. He now has a Lego wheel glued to the underneath of his shell.

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Media captionWatch Touché the tortoise zoom around on his wheels

Wonky donkey

Image copyright Animal Welfare of Luxor

Hector the donkey was missing a foot before a leg was sent from Leicestershire to Luxor, in Egypt, by Legs4Africa, a charity that donates prosthetics to amputees.

It's thought Hector lost his foot after being tethered by his leg, cutting off the circulation.

A new foot was cobbled together from parts of donated prosthetics and Hector, who spent four months able to stand but unable to walk, is up and about.

On the moo-ve

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Media captionWatch Duke the bullock use his back wheels

Duke the dwarf bullock was left paralysed when a group of cows attacked him.

He was going to be put down, but was saved by Sharon Lawlor, who runs an animal sanctuary, Calf, near Malton in North Yorkshire.

Duke has been fitted with a special device with two main wheels, and two smaller wheels similar to stabilisers on a bike.

He's now got used to trundling around and has inspired a range of merchandise - the proceeds of which help run his home.

A sorry tail

Image caption Top row: Bob gets his new tail fitted Bottom row: Bob showing his new tail off

A rescue horse whose tail had fallen off after a wet bandage was left on for too long found himself unable to swish flies away.

Because of this, Bob became covered in insect bites.

Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Chard, Somerset, successfully appealed for money to buy him not just one, but two new tails - one for the summer and one for the winter.

Created by a specialist horse hair extensions company, the fake tails match his colour and are put on each morning and taken off each evening after the horse flies have gone away, says Nicky Haddock from the sanctuary.

"We're getting a bit of practice and it's getting a bit tidier each time, so hopefully he doesn't have to be embarrassed," she adds.

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Media captionWatch Bob getting his new tail fitted

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