When Dr. Michelle Oblak, a veterinary surgical oncologist at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), in Canada, first met Patches the dachshund, the dog was suffering from a cancerous skull tumor so large, it was weighing down her head.
The tumor had to come out but removing meant that part of Patches’ skull would have to be removed. So, in a North American veterinary first, according to an announcement from OVC, Oblak 3D-printed her a replacement.
Oblak studies the relationship between human and canine cancers as co-director of the University of Guelph’s Institute for Comparative Cancer Investigation. She first pinpointed the exact location of Patches’ tumor and then teamed up with an engineer from Sheridan College to create a three-dimensional model of the dog’s head and tumor. This allowed her to plan out the difficult surgery and determine the exact dimensions of the skull plate she needed. Oblak enlisted ADEISS, an Ontario-based 3D-medical-printing company, to make the piece she needed.
It is now more likely that in the future, other experts will perform similar procedures on additional dogs and perhaps on people as well. The 9 year old doggo did well.