Paralysed puppy walks again thanks pioneering new 3D-printing technology

ITV Granada correspondent Rob Smith meets Arthur and the surgeon who saved him

A much-loved family dog has been given the ability to walk again after a leading team of vets used pioneering new 3D-printed technology.

Arthur, a six-month-old Cockapoo, was left paralysed for two days after all of his limbs suddenly became weak, causing him to collapsed and leaving him unable to walk.

Owner Natalie Jones immediately took him to her local vets, where she was told that Arthur’s prognosis was poor.

Arthur was placed into a back brace, while his surgery was planned out. Credit: Natalie Jones

Arthur underwent MRI scans and X-rays of his spine at Chestergates Veterinary Hospital in Chester where one of the UK’s leading teams of veterinary neurologists attempted to see if they could identify the problem.

They found the six-month-old puppy's vertebrae had given way, compressing his spinal cord and shutting down his limbs.

Owner Natalie Jones said: "He gave out a massive screech. When I looked down it looked like he was having a seizure.

"After that, he couldn't move [but] he could move his eyes and that was about it.

"I was really, really scared. didn't know whether he was going to recover or whether this was going to be something that was life-threatening."

Arthur, a six month old Cockapoo, had been paralysed for two days after all of his limbs suddenly became weak. Credit: PA Images

A team of specialist veterinary surgeons joined forces with Fusion Implants in Liverpool to fix the damage, creating models of his spine to ensure surgeons could precisely place the screws which hold his bones together.

Special guides, which interlocked with the bone models, were then used directly over his actual vertebrae during the a precise four-hour operation.

Rocio Orlandi carried out Arthur's operation and believes the 3D-printed guides were "paramount" to ensuring the best result.

She said: "These type of surgeries can have up to 10% of poor outcome, due to the location of the problem.

"If you put your implants in without any guides, you can hit the spinal cord, and that could be fatal.

Natalie says Arthur is back to being a "happy" dog and his now wobbly walk is "cute." Credit: ITV News

"The problem was in an area that connects the skull to the rest of the spine. So it's very near the brainstem, which is a vital organ or part of the brain that controls breathing."

Just three weeks after the 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.

Bespoke 3D-printed spinal screws and special surgical cement were created to help stabilise Arthur's spine. Credit: PA Images

Natalie, who lives in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, in Anglesey, 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.

"I honestly didn't think I'd be taking him away from here [the vets] once I dropped him off.

"So, to have him back like this - I know he's not normal like he should be - but to us, he's perfect.

“It’s been a long road but he’s starting to play and become himself. It’s the best feeling to watch him being a puppy again!"