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New Advances in Veterinary Medicine
Monday, September 24, 2018
  By: Kingsdale Animal Hospital  In: Pet Health

New Advances in Veterinary Medicine

It is exciting when veterinary medicine advances allow us to improve the quality of care provided to patients. It is even more exciting when those advances take place in Ontario! News was released this week of a first-ever procedure in North America done at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in Guelph. Dr. Michelle Oblak, a board-certified surgical oncologist at OVC, used a 3D printer to create a customized titanium plate for a dog's skull surgery.

Patches is a dachsund who lives in Pennsylvania and developed a cancerous tumour growing from her skull, pressing on her brain and one of her eyes. The treatment is to remove the tumour, but would lead to a large defect in Patches' skull. That's where the titanium plate came into play. This type of surgery had been done before at OVC but the replacement material with a titanium mesh structure molded during surgery while the patient was under anesthesia, since the surgeons only new what size to make the mesh once the tumour was removed. This new technique utilized technological advances to do much of the pre-planning in advance, resulting in a shorter surgery and anesthesia time and a more personalized prosthetic fit.

The plate replaced a portion of the skull that was removed due to the cancerous tumour. The first step was assessing the size and shape of the tumour via a CT scan. Following this assessment, Dr. Oblak worked with an engineer from Sheridan College's Centre for Advanced Manufacturing Design and Technologies to create a virtual model of the tumour and perform the surgery virtually in order to plan for the real procedure. After the virtual surgical planning, Dr. Oblak worked with a medical 3D printing company to modify their existing human medical software to create a veterinary model and thus a personalized skull plate. The plate was perfectly fit into place during surgery, resulting in a shorter surgery compared to previous cases. Patches' surgery was very successful and she was up and walking around half an hour after the surgery was completed. Patches is now cancer-free!

OVC is a world-renowned veterinary school and research facility. It is home to the Animal Cancer Centre and the Institute for Comparative Cancer Investigation.This facility is dedicated to studying both human and veterinary cancers and strives to improve our understanding of this disease and improve treatments for humans and animals. Both Dr. Boultbee and Dr. Kramer trained at OVC for their veterinary degrees.

Watch the interview with Dr. Oblak here discussing this new technology:

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