The little collie didn’t have a name – or a home – when his owner brought him and his brothers and sisters in to see Dr. King at Town N Country. All of the other puppies in the litter had been promised to families. But this little guy had a very obvious limp and deformity, the result of an early tibia fracture that had fused incorrectly.

Dr. King has an older golden retriever named Bella who has had a lifelong limp from an early life injury. As Dr. King performed her exam, she realized this uniquely positioned her to give the love and care that the new puppy would need. She and her family opened their home and their hearts, and gave the name “Cayde” to their newest fur baby.

As Cayde grew, his limp began to get worse, and it became apparent that the extra weight of his growing body was straining the leg. As a result, he was hurting when he walked. Dr. King took him to her alma mater: North Carolina State’s School of Veterinary Medicine. They discovered that the tibia had healed at an unnatural angle, and it needed corrective surgery.

Because the leg was so malformed, the team at NCSVM used scans of Cayde’s leg to print a 3D model of his leg. The veterinarians used the model to practice the procedure. They placed a titanium bone plate and screws over the fracture so that his leg would stay straight as he grows.

After the surgery, Cayde had to be crated for several weeks to allow for healing. He is now running around fine and having no problems at all. His foot is rotated out about 30 degrees, so there could possibly be a problem with arthritis later on in life. He may also need another surgery.

For now, though, Cayde is healthy and strong, thanks to the love of a family, the skill of a team of veterinarians, and the wonders of a 3D printer.

Images courtesy of NCSU School of Veterinary Medicine