Bait dog with crushed facial bones saved using innovative 3D printed mask!

In this age of modern materials, where even your average person can afford to stretch to buy equipment that can print 3D objects, innovations are rife! Well, the UC Davis biomedical engineering students in conjunction with veterinary surgeons are no exception to this…

Together they have come up with something marvelous and ingenious, a 3D printed mask specifically engineered to act as a cast for a dog’s fractured skull bone, how amazing!

Actually seeing this in action a 4-month-old puppy had the chance to use one of these masks! After the puppy was sadly mauled one day, by another dog, he was fitted with the cast, and he survived in part thanks to this wonderful invention.

Her name was Loca, she came to the Californian UC Davis Davis School of Veterinary Medicine with a crushed cheekbone as well as a fractured jawbone, her temporomandibular joint (TMJ) suffered extensive damage.

Also having multiple puncture wounds on her face and neck, the prognosis was not good under normal circumstances, but the Staffordshire bull terrier had a small chance to survive. With complex surgery to reform her face, the vets were more than up to the task….


The innovative invention was there to help them to achieve their goal and to help her heal properly, Loca was fitted with the face cast, called an ‘Exo-K9 Exoskeleton’. The cast was printed by biomedical engineering students studying at the school.

The team had already been working on a prototype, so this opportunity to test it was very fortunate for both the team and the puppy Loca, she was the perfect patient to get some benefit from the innovative device!

They very cleverly used a CT scan to custom build the cast especially for her, it would assist her jawbone healing and keep it from moving during the delicate healing process.

UC Davis School said:

“Loca did extremely well throughout her 3-day hospitalization …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.”

The vets advised:

“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.”

Watch Loca’s amazing time in the hospital and what follows in the video below…