Saggy dog has much-needed face lift so he can eat and see

Neo the dog with owner Mark Hutchins
Neo the Neapolitan Mastiff needed a face lift to remove excess skin that was stopping him from seeing and making eating tough (Picture: SWNS)

Having a few wrinkles is no big deal.

But when Neo’s sagging skin stopped him from being able to see and made it tricky to eat, his owner knew surgery was the only option.

Neo is a 150lb Neapolitan Mastiff, a breed that’s known for a wrinkled face.

But the dog’s skin had become excessively saggy, falling in his eyes and causing him pain.

Thankfully, a face lift was an option. Neo was taken in for treatment at Eastcott Veterinary Referrals in Swindon, Wiltshire, where surgery was carried out to remove more than a kilogram of excess skin to fix his sagging eyes and eyelids.
Owner Mark Hutchins, from Chippenham, said: ‘I know it sounds a bit mad when you talk about a dog having a facelift but it was a very traumatic time for the family.

‘Neo was having a lot of problems with his face and eyes because he had so much saggy skin hanging down and he was in a lot of pain and discomfort.

‘We even had to pull his skin back for him so he could see his meal and eat it properly.

Neo the dog before the operation to remove excess skin
Neo before the much-needed surgery (Picture: SWNS)
‘It was obvious something had to be done, although we were very worried that he wouldn’t look the same afterwards, especially my daughter Millie, who was a bit tearful over it all.

You should never physically punish your pet. It brings the animal pain and fear, and it gains you nothing. It’s a lose-lose situation. Please don’t do it.

‘Thankfully, the results have been amazing and made a big difference to Neo, who’s recovered very well, and we owe a big thank you to the team at Eastcott.

‘They were absolutely brilliant and Neo was operated on within three days of us contacting them, which was terrific.

‘Now it’s all over, we can finally see the funny side of it and it’s already led to a few chuckles. When people say to me “Oh isn’t he lovely?” I say “That’s because he’s just recovering from a facelift’.

‘No-one believes me when I say the vets removed more than a kilo of skin, they think I’m joking, but it’s absolutely true and Neo’s all the better for it.’

Neo the dog before the operation to remove excess skin and allow him to see
Before the operation, Neo’s skin fell in his eyes and caused him pain (Picture: SWNS)
Eastcott’s head of ophthalmology Ida Gilbert headed up the urgent case and worked with specialist soft tissue surgeon Andrew Phillips. Alongside fellow ophthalmologist Dave Johnson, the team were able to make Neo’s day-to-day life so much happier and healthier.

Ida, an advance practitioner in veterinary ophthalmology, said: ‘Neo was clearly struggling, so he was considered to be an urgent case and was prioritised for surgery.

‘His vision was poor due to his eyelid conformation and extremely heavy facial folds. He had also developed very sore eyes because of the irritation from his condition.

Pitter patter. A large breed dog’s resting heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute, and a small dog breed’s heart beats between 100-140. Comparatively, a resting human heart beats 60-100 times per minute.

Neo the dog after his operation
After his face lift, Neo still has his signature wrinkles but is able to see (Picture: SWNS)

‘The constant irritation caused him to rub his eyes repeatedly, which worsened the situation, and he’d also become anxious about anyone attempting to handle around his eyes and face, which made the application of eye drops nearly impossible for his owners.

‘A full investigation revealed the eyelids and skin folds were causing irritation to the cornea and putting him in a lot of discomfort.

‘There was inflammation and damage to the left cornea, he struggled to open his eyes and had a double kink in his left upper eyelid and a single in the right, due to the excessive eyelid lengths.’

The surgery saw Neo have his eyelids shortened by 15mm, with an extra procedure to stop them turning inwards.

Neo the dog post op
He’s so much happier as a result (Picture: SWNS)

The face lift, meanwhile, involved slicing away 1,050g of excess skin.

‘Everything went well and it has really given him a new lease of life and opened his eyes again to the world around him,’ said surgeon Andrew.

‘He has healed very nicely and his owners report he is a much happier dog as a result of the surgery.’

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