Patches is a 9-year-old who had a massive problem, one that would likely have killed her eventually.
The small dachshund had a large tumour on the skull.
Approached by a colleague at Cornell University in the U.S., it was decided to try a new technology to remove the tumour. One which involved a Canadian university and a Canadian technology company.Listen
In this operation a major portion of the dog’s skull, about 70 per cent, was removed and replaced with a titanium cap.
While a similar operation has been performed in Britain, it was not on this scale which is believed to be the first in North America
In this case the CT scan of the dog’s head taken at Cornell, was sent to the OVC where through computerised programmes a 3d model was created.
With software programmes and the actual model, Dr Oblak and others were able to accurately map out and practice the surgery before actually performing it. They were also able to send detailed modelling to ADEISS, a medical 3D company in London Ontario. Within about two weeks the company was able to create an exact titanium match of the portion of the skull to be removed.
This enabled the entire operation to be performed in one step with the tumour and 70 per cent of the skull removed, and the titanium replacement fitted perfectly in place with screws.
Normally in such situations, a portion of skull would be removed, a temporary mesh put in place, and then later a permanent piece would be put have to be created, and then placed which required a second operation.
In this case after about 2 months of planning, the involvement of software engineers and an industrial engineer the actual operation by Dr Oblak and other surgeons took only four hours.
Patches was able to walk outside for a bathroom visit just 30 minutes after the operation.
The operation was funded through a collaborative industry research grant with Sheridan College and ADEISS.
Dr. Oblak says such research has wider implications and helps to advance surgical procedures for humans as well as animals.
Patches had an unrelated problem some weeks later with a slipped disc in her spine which has left her back legs paralysed, although her owner says she still is active and pulls herself around with her front legs.