Medical AMOrthopedic Implants

3D printing enables paralyzed puppy to walk again

Specialist surgeons from Chestergates Veterinary Hospital collaborated with Fusion Implants to design bespoke 3D printed spinal screws and surgical cement to stabilize his spine

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A six-month-old Cockapoo puppy has regained the ability to walk thanks to a pioneering 3D printed spine procedure performed by a leading veterinary team at Chestergates Veterinary Hospital in Chester, UK. The puppy was suddenly paralyzed when his limbs became weak, causing him to collapse. His owner, Natalie Jones, took him to Chestergates Veterinary Hospital, where top veterinary neurologists conducted MRI scans and X-rays.

The diagnostics revealed that instability between Arthur’s first and second cervical vertebrae was causing severe spinal cord compression, resulting in paralysis. To treat this, specialist surgeons collaborated with Fusion Implants in Liverpool to design bespoke 3D printed spinal screws and surgical cement to stabilize the paralyzed puppy’s spine.

While awaiting surgery, the puppy was hospitalized and fitted with a body brace. One week later, he underwent a precise four-hour operation to insert the 3D printed components into his spine. Remarkably, just three weeks after surgery, he began walking unassisted. His recovery continued smoothly with physiotherapy, and three months post-surgery, he regained limb function and was walking slowly.

Chestergates Veterinary Hospital, in collaboration with Fusion Implants, use 3D printing to enable paralyzed puppy to walk again.

“Arthur’s condition was very serious, as these bony abnormalities could potentially be life-threatening, due to how close they are to the brainstem. The use of 3D printed technology enhances the accuracy of this complicated surgery, which was successful, significantly improving Arthur’s prognosis,” said veterinary surgeon Rocio Orlandi, who led the team.

“Upon arrival at Chestergates, we were seen within minutes. The vets were so calm, which was a huge reassurance. We had no option but for Arthur to have surgery,” said Natalie Jones, the puppy’s owner. “Five hours later, I received the call he’d made it through. He was discharged three days later, tail wagging. We were so pleased, but having such a poorly dog was scary. He had a brace from stomach to head, was unable to use his limbs, and needed 24-hour care.”

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Chestergates Veterinary Specialists continues to pioneer UK veterinary neurology, utilizing advanced techniques like 3D printed guides for spinal stabilization. They offer specialist-led services in orthopedics, cardiology, soft tissue surgery, anesthesia, ophthalmology, internal medicine, diagnostic imaging, and neurology.

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