Bliss, a two-year-old dog from Texas, wasn’t living such a blissful existence for a while. The pup was suffering from a rare skull tumor that gave her head a deformed appearance, and sadly, her owners decided to drop her at a kill shelter where she would have had a sad fate if not for the Friends of Emma Medical Rescue, an organization that cares for critically ill dogs. Friends of Emma pulled Bliss from the shelter and was preparing to offer her hospice care, but a visit to the vet revealed that the tumor was actually benign and wasn’t affecting her neurologically or otherwise.
Still, the tumor was large and needed to be removed. Bliss’ vet wasn’t sure of the best way to proceed, so Friends of Emma founder Elizabeth Hart reached out to a renowned veterinary cancer surgeon in Ontario, Canada. The surgeon believes that he can successfully remove the tumor, so very soon Bliss and her caretakers will take a long 70-plus-hour road trip from Texas to Ontario (Bliss is unable to fly) so she can have the procedure done.
When the tumor is removed, a good portion of Bliss’ skull and some of her facial bones will have to be removed as well – that’s how invasive the tumor is. At first, the surgeon planned to fit the dog with a titanium skull cap after the removal but soon decided that a better choice would be a 3D printed porous polyethylene implant created by an Australian manufacturer of surgical devices for humans. The 3D printed implant will be custom made for Bliss and so will fit perfectly, which is a major benefit of using 3D printing for these types of procedures – human or otherwise.
Many other dogs have been helped by 3D printing, benefiting from prosthetic feet or legs or assistive devices such as wheelchairs. Bliss isn’t the first dog to benefit from a 3D printed implant, either. The world is full of kind animal lovers who will do anything to give a pet a better life, and 3D printing is giving these people more opportunities to help their animals. The technology is opening up all sorts of opportunities for better medical care in the human healthcare industry, and it makes sense that veterinary care would not be far behind.
Bliss will undergo her surgery next month and then require some time to recover. If you would like to help her, you can donate to her medical care expenses here.
“We expect to make the trip in early-mid June with a return to Texas mid-late June depending on the progress of the implant creation and the length of post-op hospitalization required,” said Hart. “We welcome you to contribute to Bliss and the ongoing rescue efforts of Friends Of Emma – and to follow Bliss’ incredible journey through this ground-breaking veterinary surgery, her recovery, rehabilitation – and ultimately, in finding a family of her own once she has completed treatment in our care.”
Bliss is a lucky dog indeed, one who is hopefully looking at a long and healthy life after nearly being fated to live a very short one. Thanks to a combination of technology and kindness, Bliss may find her bliss after all.
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