3D Printing Saved This Puppy’s Life

This technological innovation is revolutionizing veterinary care.



(Lee Ph / Shutterstock.com)

New technologies are paving the way for rapid advancement in the field of medicine. Medical Futurist explains that 3D printing technology now allows for the production of personalized and incredibly precise implants, prosthetics, surgical models, biomaterials, and even drugs, that have saved or enhanced the life of thousands around the world. 

But, it’s not just human patients who are benefiting from these marvelous innovations. Arthur, a six-month old, furry, cockapoo puppy, and the best friend of owner Natalie Jones, recently joined the club of canines whose lives have been saved by 3D printing, reports the New York Post.

A misaligned spine
New York Posts shares the dramatic story of how Arthur, an energetic cockapoo suddenly let out a loud bark and collapsed against the couch in his Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Wales home. Jones, who had recently lost another beloved cockapoo, two-year old Rupert, to a devastating illness panicked and rushed Arthur to Chestergates Veterinary Hospital in Chester, Cheshire. 

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Jones said, “When Arthur collapsed I panicked.The vets were so calm which was a huge reassurance.” They ran a battery of tests on little Arthur, including an x-ray and MRI of his backbone. The tests showed that the cockapoo’s pine was not properly aligned and one piece of it had begun to compress his spinal cord, paralyzing him and threatening his life.

The veterinary team told Jones that Arthur needed extensive emergency surgery. The surgery would be complicated and dangerous, Jones shared. “I told him how much I loved him and that I needed him to be strong – but in my head I said goodbye as I did not know if he’d come home,” she told the New York Post.

Saved by 3D Printing
The vets at Chestergates Veterinary Hospital in Chester, Cheshire, spent four operating on the tiny pup. They placed cement, and custom 3D printed screws produced by Fusion Implants into his spine. 

Five hours later, Jones was informed that the surgery had been successful, and three days later Arthur could already wag his tail again. The veterinary team discharged him from the hospital where he recovered slowly but steadily at home. Initially, he needed 24-hour care, and a full body brace, but three months later, according to Jones, “he’s starting to play and become himself. It’s the best feeling to watch him being a puppy again.”

Rocio Orlanid, one of the surgeons who saved Arthur’s life said that, “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,” he added

Jones was very grateful to the tech and vet teams that helped Arthur. “We want to thank Chestergates – and Fusion Implants,” she said. “For everything they have done. They have given our beautiful boy a second chance and that means all the world.”

A model spine
Arthur is now on the shortlist of furry friends whose lives have been saved by 3D printing. He shares this title with a handful of other pups, including Andy, a seven-year old dachshund from New Jersey who also suffered sudden paralysis in 2019, TODAY reports.

Andy’s owner, Loraine Young, was devastated by her dog’s loss of mobility. Andy had been nursing her husband, Robert, through a health crisis, when he suddenly became unable to use his two back legs. 

At Saint Francis Veterinary Center, near Philadelphia, a veterinary team explained to Young that Andy suffered from a spinal condition that is common among dachshunds. To fix the problem, he required an intricate and complicated surgery. What made the procedure so complex was that Andy’s spinal space was smaller than a human finger, which meant the vets needed to use absolute precision when operating. 

To prepare for surgery, the vet team teamed up with Thomas Jefferson University to print out a model of Andy’s spine. Dr Mark Magazu told TODAY that the spine model was incredibly helpful, "It not only helped me know where it began, but it helped me know the direction of where all the material and the damage was," said Magazu, adding, "So by having the 3D rendering, I knew exactly where to go in the surgery". The surgery was a complete success and a few weeks later, Andy was back to wagging his tail.

Andy, Arthur, and thousands of other two-legged and four-legged patients have been saved by 3D printed medical innovations. Stories like those of Andy and Arthur underscore the profound impact of 3D printing in modern veterinary and human medicine, showcasing how this technology can give our beloved pets — and patients of all kinds — a new lease on life.

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