‘Titanium Terrier’ gets second chance at life with plate in her head

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Judy Horsford, from London, first became concerned for her 10-year old rescue terrier Sammy when she started losing her balance and tilting her head to one side. Now, Sammy is back to her old self – thanks to a state-of-the-art titanium mesh plate in her head.

“We took her to our vet who tried anti-inflammatory drugs, but she then had a big seizure which was very scary,” said Judy. “I’m a nurse and my daughter’s a doctor and we thought it might be a general deterioration of something in her head.

“Then, while we were waiting for the results of tests, we spotted a large lump on her head which we hadn’t noticed before. It was a real shock and when she had scans that showed how massive the tumour was, it was really worrying.

“She was put on steroids, but we felt she must be really suffering and if something wasn’t done then she wasn’t going to last very long at all. We had to give her a chance.”

Sammy was referred to Hamilton Specialist Referrals, part of My Family Vets, for surgery on the uncommon, slow-growing bone tumour.

“The CT scan showed a large growth protruding deep into the skull and compressing large areas of Sammy’s brain,” said vet Pete Smith, a specialist in veterinary neurology.

“The surgery was complex, and we had to remove much of the side and back of her skull. Once removed, the brain was no longer compressed, but she would have been left with a very abnormal shape to her head and at risk of being injured by relatively minor incidents.

“So, to solve this we used the titanium mesh to protect the brain and allow the tissues to be reconstructed.”

titanium plate

Remarkably, Sammy was eating the morning after her operation and recovered so well she was allowed home three days later. Having feared she might lose her dog, Judy was thrilled to be able to go and pick Sammy up.

“We were really careful at first and slept downstairs to be there for her,” said Judy. “But her recovery really was beyond belief, and she was soon tearing around so much she actually injured a ligament in her hind leg, which is thankfully healing.

“You wouldn’t know what she has been through or even that she has this titanium plate!”

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