Meet Neo the rescue dog who inspired NEO-K9
It was a rainy autumn day in 2010, on a busy highway in the USA, a 12 month old puppy found himself alone and confused.
Not knowing what to do or where to go he tried to cross the road, but as he darted across he was hit by a car. The car continued along the highway without stopping, but the driver behind saw the scene and pulled over to see what had happened.
The puppy was lying in the bushes, whimpering. His right hind leg had been severely damaged from the impact of the car. The puppy looked up at the driver with two beautiful blue eyes and it was heart wrenching. The driver wasted no time in scooping him up and driving quickly to the local animal shelter for emergency care.
At the shelter they confirmed that the puppy's leg was shattered. But the puppy didn’t have a collar or tag and because of strict policies they refused to operate on him until 7 days had passed or an owner had claimed him. All they could do was treat the pain with pain medication. The driver was not allowed to take the puppy to an alternative veterinary clinic for treatment because he was now deemed “unclaimed personal property”.
The driver returned home to his family that night and told them what had happened. Every day for the following 7 days the whole family worried about the puppy and went to check on him. And as each day passed no-one came to claim him...
They named him Neo, Greek for “New”,
On the morning of the 7th day, the family of the driver went to the shelter and signed the paperwork to formally adopt the puppy.
They named him Neo, Greek for “New”, and so Neo became the newest member of their family, it was the first big step in his journey of recovery.
By then he was extremely fragile. The family had booked emergency surgery for Neo at a nearby veterinary clinic and so the battle to repair his damaged leg began.
The vets at the clinic recommended amputating Neo’s leg, they said that Neo had lost significant amounts of blood and his broken leg had wasted away. But the family couldn't face the idea of apmutating Neo’s leg, after all, huskies, more than any other dog breed, are born to run for miles and miles. The chances of successfully reconstructing his leg were low and the associated costs were high, but the family decided to give Neo every chance to run on all four legs again and so reconstructive surgery began.
Initial surgery on Neo’s leg was unsuccessful.
The metal implant shifted out of the joint and the bone could not properly fuse together. The vet again recommended amputation, but the family were determined not to give up. Three weeks after the first surgery, a second surgery was performed.
To improve Neo’s chances for a full recovery, he was kept at the clinic with around the clock care. The surgery went well but there was devastating news at the next check-up. Due to the open wounds and extensive use of antibiotics, his immune system was weakened and he had developed an aggressive bone infection.
Neo’s bones would neither form or fuse; the second surgery had also failed.
The vet advised that the only option left was amputation, unless the family wanted to speak with a specialist. Not willing to give up, a meeting was booked with one of the nation’s leading orthopaedic surgeons that same day.
The first consultation with the specialist was discouraging. The options were to amputate or to perform a complex bone grafting procedure. Because of the previous two failed surgeries and the recurring infections, the chances of the third surgery being successful were slim and expensive.
The surgeon saw how disappointed the family were and the journey they had been on with Neo so far, he began to explain the bone remodelling process in dogs to help the family understand why the procedure was tricky and why the healing process for Neo’s bone was difficult.
It was at this point the surgeon found out that the driver who had saved Neo was infact a highly recognised medical microbiologist and immunologist and had previously developed a patented bone health product for humans.
The driver and his family understood the medical challenges well but were still focused on Neo making a full recovery, with all four legs.
The family opted for the third bone grafting surgery. But in order for the surgery to succeed it was clear that the family would need to call on all their available knowledge and resources.
Following orthopaedic surgery vets often recommend that dogs are given glucosamine or chondroitin based supplements to help their joints and ease of movement. But most available products focus solely on joint health and there was nothing available that targeted the entire skeletal system joints and bones included.
It was then the family had a novel idea, to develop a dog-friendly version of their patented human bone health supplement for Neo to help his recovery.
Against the clock they began the process of precisely adapting the formula to be safe and effective for a dog.
Working closely with veterinarians, clinical and scientific literature was reviewed along with regulatory guidelines to ensure the supplement would help and not harm Neo.
They worked with their own team of scientists and doctors to modify components and the ratios of the core technology to meet the specific demands of the canine skeletal system.
The family presented the research and clinical studies for the canine-bone supplement to Neo’s surgeon and he agreed to let Neo take it as part of his post-operation treatment.
The complex was enriched with bone co-factors, minerals and antioxidants.
Finally the supplement was ready and Neo was given two tablets, every morning and every evening.
They had successfully developed a dog-friendly formula designed to promote the formation of healthy bone tissue and support joint flexibility and function.
Third time lucky really was the case for Neo. Six weeks after Neo’s third surgery the family received the long-awaited news that a full recovery was expected.
The family had wanted to do everything they could to help the beautiful puppy that had captured their hearts. The supplement they had given him was never intended to be sold commercially. But the surgeon was so pleased with Neo’s progress he insisted on making the supplement available to all of his patients. One year, and many case studies later, a commercial version of the supplement was perfected.
The base formula remained the same but it was made more palatable, natural flavours were added to make it taste like liver and sausage, and it was turned into a chewable tablet. Finally it was developed in two strengths, the Clinical Formula to help dog’s like Neo whose bones and joints need immediate and intense support and a Maintenance Formula intended to be taken as a daily supplement to help keep any dog’s bones and joints healthy and strong.
In honour of Neo and his courageous fight the product was named NEO-K9 and was officially launched in 2013 as a revolutionary bone and joint supplement for dogs. You will see Neo’s smiling face on every bottle of NEO-K9.
Today, Neo is a happy, healthy dog, living in sunny California with his family. He loves running on all four legs and has energy that is almost impossible to keep up with.
Neo still takes his NEO-K9 Maintenance tablet every day to help keep his bones and joints healthy!