Our rather old cat (estimated 17) has had carcinoma diagnosed in the lower left jaw-bone or mandible. I was shocked & horrified at a recommendation for surgical excision of the whole mandible on the effected side with nothing to replace it. His quality of life is currently good and prospect of complications, tube feeding for weeks), the animal’s own psychological horror at his disfigurement, and prospect that the disease might even then persist, makes us lean towards palliative treatment only.
But this has got me thinking. We have prosthetic parts for knees & hips in people but nothing for animals – too expensive no doubt; but does it have to be? Could not a 3D printer, driven by CT or MRI digital data of the original bone, make a replacement cost-effectively? Whether porcelain, crushed bone, or hard plastic, a quickly milled exact replacement part would surely be preferable to a non functional void?