UC Davis veterinary team creates 3D-printed mask for injured puppy

Loca, a 4-month-old female Staffordshire bull terrier with a fractured skull, was the first recipient of a 3D printed mask at the UC Davis veterinary hospital.
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A four-month-old puppy has a new chance on a normal life thanks to the UC Davis veterinary hospital.

Loca, a female Staffordshire bull terrier, was attacked by another dog and was injured so severely, her right cheekbone and jawbone were fractured, according to the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine website. 

The puppy also suffered extensive damage to her TMJ -- which is a joint connecting the skull to the jawbone -- and multiple puncture wounds on her face and neck. A team at the hospital's Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service (DOSS) not only successfully performed a challenging surgery to mend the damage, but were also able to use a new face mask they had developed with the biomedical engineering students.

The 3D printed mask serves as a cast for a fractured skull while it heals. The Exo-K9 Exoskeleton is custom built and helps dogs with severe fractures when internal fixation isn't an option.

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During surgery, the team of veterinarians removed bone fragments internally before getting Loca's mask ready for use. She would soon become the 3D-printed mask's first-ever recipient.

Loca's mask remained on at all times except to allow her to eat and drink. After three months of careful recovery, a new bone begin forming in place of the puppy's former TMJ, becoming a semi-functional joint. according UC Davis veterinary hospital's webpage.

She continues to heal from her injuries and her TMJ is progressing well.