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Lucky Result for Little Dog with Hole in Skull

4 March 2022

A young dog born with part of his skull missing can count himself lucky thanks to a remarkable recovery after specialist veterinary care at NDSR.

The Pomeranian pup, called Lucky, was just 10 months old when his owner Cristina Filipov, from Bromley in Kent, realised something was wrong with her precious pet.


Lucky, the Pomeranian puppy


Two trips to her local vets ended with Lucky being referred to us, where the congenital defect was discovered.

Dr Bethan Jones, Residency-Trained Neurologist, and Dr Rodolfo Cappello, Director of Neurology, took charge of the case and said it was particularly challenging because Lucky was so small and needed intricate implant surgery to repair the problem.

Rodolfo, an RCVS and European Specialist in Neurology, said: “We carried out CT and MRI scans and discovered a malformation of the occipital bone and instability of the joint at C1-C2 with compression of the cerebellum and spinal cord.

It was a complex malformation, which required a surgical reconstruction of the missing part of the skull and stabilisation of the joint at C1-C2. This challenge was further complicated by the small size of the dog.

We commissioned the construction of a 3D-printed titanium prosthesis to perfectly compensate for the absence of part of the skull.

Lucky underwent surgery to have the prosthesis fitted and we were very pleased to witness a remarkably good outcome. He has subsequently made an excellent recovery.”


The 3D model of Lucky's skull used for making the plate


The 3D model with plate which was used

Above Images: The 3D model of Lucky's skull and the titanium prosthesis plate used in the reconstruction of the missing part of the skull


Owner Cristina said: “When we heard the result of the scan it was quite a traumatic moment.

We had two options – have the operation and hope it was successful or put Lucky to sleep. We decided to give him the chance he deserved and have the operation but we had to wait a month while the implant was created especially for him.

The wait was awful. It was a very tough and anxious time, and I was so worried I was going to lose him.

Lucky was so brave but I just wanted the operation to be done straightaway as he was in so much pain.”

Rodolfo and the NDSR team performed the operation as soon as the prosthesis had been designed and delivered, with Cristina thrilled by the lifechanging results for Lucky.

She added: “I was so happy and I just wanted to take Lucky back home and cuddle him all night.

He made a quick recovery and was very soon back to his real self. You’d never know he’d had such a serious operation and because he’s so small and fluffy, you can’t see any scars.

I am so thankful that Rodolfo and everyone at NDSR did such a tremendous job.”

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