Puppy Mauled in Dog Fight Gets First Ever 3D-Printed Mask to Help Save Her Life

UC Davis biomedical engineering students and veterinary surgeons created a 3D printed mask designed to be used as a cast for a dog’s fractured skull.

A 4-month-old puppy survived severe facial injuries after being mauled by a dog thanks in part to a special 3D-printed face mask.

Recently, Loca arrived at UC Davis Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in California suffering from a crushed cheekbone, a fractured jawbone and her temporomandibular joint (TMJ) suffered extensive damage. She also had multiple puncture wounds on her face and neck.

The Staffordshire Bull terrier pup would need a challenging, complex surgery to reconstruct her face. But the veterinarian surgeons were up to the task, and had an innovative new tool to help her get better.

Following her surgery, Loca was fitted for a special face mask – a Exo-K9 Exoskeleton – printed just for her by biomedical engineering students at the school. The team had been working on a prototype, so when Loca came in to the hospital, she was the perfect first candidate.

Using 3D printer technology, the face mask was custom fitted for her (through a CT scan) and helped to keep her jawbone in place while she healed.

“Loca did extremely well throughout her 3-day hospitalization,” UC Davis School wrote. “She almost immediately began eating soft food and remained comfortable on her pain medications. In addition to the Exo-K9, Loca was fitted with a padded neck bandage to provide stabilization of her neck fracture and limit her range of mobility during the healing process.”

“For the next month, Loca was not allowed access to any toys, bones, or anything else hard to chew,” said the vets. “Her mask and neck collar remained on at all times except to allow her to eat and drink. She was fed a soft diet until her injuries healed.”

Watch Loca’s remarkable time at the hospital and her visit back to her saviors in the video below.

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