3D-printed mask gives savagely attacked puppy new lease of life

A puppy that suffered extensive damage and multiple puncture wounds to her face and neck after she was attacked by another dog is healing thanks to a custom-made 3D-printed mask.

Staff at the University of California's Davis School of Veterinary Medicine created the special device to help four-month-old Loca post-surgery due to the severity of her injuries, which also included a fractured cheekbone and jawbone.

It was a joint effort which also involved members of the school's Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service (DOSS), with the mask designed by biomedical engineering students from UC Davis College of Engineering.

While the puppy recovered from her "salvage surgery", the team got to work on printing the mask, dubbed Exo-K9 - the first to be used on a patient.

"She almost immediately began eating soft food and remained comfortable on her pain medications," staff said.

"For the next month, Loca was not allowed access to any toys, bones, or anything else hard to chew. 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."

They added: "Loca continues to recover well from her injuries, and all indications show the Exo-K9 to be a viable component to maxillofacial injury healing."

Video footage illustrating Loca's journey towards recovery shows her jumping up lovingly at the team who helped heal her wounded body.