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Researchers Print 3D Skull for Dog That Lost Part of Hers to Cancer

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We’ve all heard that dogs are commonly referred to as man’s best friend.

If you have ever owned a dog or encountered a dog, I think we can all agree that this statement stands true to this day.

Dogs have unique personalities, too — their emotions and funny acts are comparable to humans’ at times.

For instance, Hannah the beagle found herself in all sorts of trouble from maneuvering obstacles to getting into medicine, to eating 7 pounds of dog food!

Her owners decided to lay down electrically charged mats in the kitchen to keep her from climbing onto the counters, but just like a sneaky little kid, she found her way around the obstacles.

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Dogs definitely are not afraid to display their almost human-like personalities for all to see.

Unfortunately, dogs share more than character traits with humans. They also share illnesses.

When 9-year-old Patches, a dachshund, was diagnosed with a large brain tumor pressing on her eye and brain, it grew until it was weighing down her head, according to CNN.

Would you consider this kind of surgery for your dog?

That’s when Dr. Michelle Oblak, a surgical oncologist for animals from the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College partnered with Cornell University to print a 3-D plate to replace Patches’ skull.

Oblak, along with surgeon Galina Hayes, studied the dog’s tumor and used prototyping and 3-D implants for reconstruction.

Oblak first practiced removing a large model tumor from the 3-D model of Patches’ skull.

“I was able to do the surgery before I even walked into the operating room,” Oblak said.

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The practice was apparently a first in North America.

“What was really interesting in this case was the fact that we were instead able to take those scans, and actually create a plate that fit perfectly to this dog,” Oblak said, praising the surgical technology.

Without the 3-D printing, the surgery would have been a more “generic process.”

“(3-D printing) shifts the focus from an implant that has been designed for common use that requires modification to a patient, to a patient-specific implant that has been designed directly for them,” Oblak said.

The surgery was quite successful besides an unrelated back issue, and Patches has been cancer-free for 6 months.

Surgeons are researching this method for human purposes, as well. This technology has only been utilized for jawbones and vertebrae.

“What’s really great about this is that we’re able to use this cutting-edge technology in our animal patients, but we’re also going to be able to contribute valuable information so that this can be used in humans, as well,” Oblak said.

What a wonderful and innovative surgery!

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Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Erin Shortall is an editorial intern for The Western Journal. She is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Grove City College. She has a major in English, minors in both Writing and Communication Studies, and a Technical Writing concentration. She is currently working on designing and writing a book of poetry to financially support a new homeless ministry of Grove City, PA called Beloved Mercy Ministry. In her spare time, she loves to sing, play piano, exercise, traverse cities, and find the cutest coffee shops. She also has a passion for homeless ministry in her home city of Philadelphia, PA.
Birthplace
Philadelphia, PA
Honors/Awards
Scholarship of Academic Achievement and Moral Character
Education
Grove City College
Location
Grove City, PA
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
Visual Design, Document Design, Technical Communication, Literature, Computer Ethics




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