A cat called Darryl has received a metal prosthesis to correct a palate injury in his mouth in a unique collaborative dental procedure performed at the University of Florida (UF) Small Animal Hospital.
The procedure involved affixing a metal prosthesis to the roof of Darryl’s mouth to close a hole between his oral and nasal cavities. Fong Wong, an associate professor of prosthodontics and maxillofacial prosthetics in UF’s College of Dentistry, conducted the procedure with assistance from Amy Stone, a clinical assistant professor in UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Stone said: “This was a different approach than has ever been done before. We have not had an exact procedure for palate issues that is entirely successful for every species, and Darryl’s problem was one likely caused, or at least exacerbated, by injury. There were also other complications, so his situation required something a bit different.”
Wong added: “Usually medical procedures are first tried in animals, and then, when successful, used in human patients. In this case, it was the animal that benefitted from a procedure that is routine in humans but has not been part of routine veterinary medicine.”
In August 2014, Wong made a cast of Darryl’s mouth and crafted a custom acrylic appliance to cover the defect. The appliance was sutured into place on a trial basis to see if the approach would work in a cat.
The approach was successful, and in October, Darryl’s permanent metal prosthesis was installed. His feeding tube was removed two days after the procedure and he was able to eat normally for the first time in more than a year.
Image: Amy Stone (centre) with Fong Wong (right). Source: UF College of Veterinary Medicine