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Paralysed dog walks again with pioneering 3D-printed spine

12th June 2024

Natalie Jones with Arthur her Cockapoo

A beloved family dog has been given the ability to walk again after a leading team of vets gave him a pioneering new 3D-printed spine.

Arthur, a six month old Cockapoo, had been paralysed for two days after all of his limbs suddenly became weak, meaning he collapsed and could not walk.

Owner Natalie Jones, who lives in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll immediately took him to her local general practice vets where she was told that Arthur’s prognosis was poor.

It was recommended that Arthur be taken to Chestergates Veterinary Hospital in Chester. Here one of the UK’s leading teams of veterinary neurologists conducted MRI scans and X-rays of his spine to see if they could identify the problem.

They established that a section of Arthur’s spine was not properly connected together which had been caused by instability of his first and second cervical vertebrae. This was compressing his spinal cord severely, causing loss of function in all four of his limbs.

To treat Arthur, a team of specialist veterinary surgeons at Chestergates joined forces with Fusion Implants in Liverpool to create bespoke 3D-printed spinal screws and special surgical cement to help stabilise his spine.

Whilst waiting for the surgery Arthur was hospitalised and his body was put into a brace.

One week later, Arthur was taken into surgery. Here a team specialist veterinary surgeons and nurses undertook a precise four-hour operation to carefully place the new 3D-printed section into Arthur’s spine.

Miraculously, only three weeks after his successful surgery, Arthur was able to start walking again unassisted. Over two months he continued to recover smoothly, undergoing a full course of physiotherapy. Three months on, Arthur now has limb function and is walking slowly.

Leading veterinary surgeon Rocio Orlandi, who led the team, said: “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.”

Owner Natalie Jones said: “When Arthur collapsed I panicked. Less than six months prior, we’d lost Rupert our beautiful two-year-old cockapoo to a sudden short illness.

 “On arrival at Chestergates we were seen in minutes. The vets were so calm which was a huge reassurance. We had no option but for Arthur to have surgery. 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.

 “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.

 “It’s been a long road but over the last week, he’s starting to play and become himself. It’s the best feeling to watch him being a puppy again! We want to thank Chestergates – and Fusion Implants – for everything they have done. They have given our beautiful boy a second chance and that means all the world.”

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Chestergates Veterinary Specialists is a pioneer of UK veterinary neurology – from the development of MRI in veterinary medicine in the nineties, surgical management of syringomyelia[1] in the noughties, vastly increasing knowledge of many neurological diseases in the 2010s, to using advanced techniques such as 3D-printed guides for spinal stabilisation in 2020s.

With state-of-the-art facilities and employing some of Europe’s leading veterinary specialists, Chestergates now offers a wide range of specialist-led services including orthopaedics, cardiology, soft tissue surgery, anaesthesia and analgesia, ophthalmology, internal medicine, diagnostic imaging and neurology and neurosurgery. For more information visit:

[1] Syringomyelia – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (

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