By Kelly Ryan

UC DAVIS (CBS13) — It’s surgery day for Loca, a 4-month-old female Staffordshire bull terrier.

Just like any other hospital surgery, the patient is wheeled into surgery and hooked up to tubes and monitors.

But her case is not typical because of her injury.

She was bitten by another dog so severely that the right side of her skull and jaw had extensive damage. She also had multiple puncture wounds on her face and neck.

But luck is on her side, thanks to the development of a 3-D printed mask. The dentistry and oral surgery service and the biomedical engineering department have collaborated over the years to develop 3-D printed skull models.

Loca will be the first patient to try out the Exo-K9 exoskeleton.

As soon as Loca arrived at the hospital, students were ready to print the mask based on her exact specifications from a CT scan, so it fits precisely.

Developers say the mask will help in healing fractures, a lot like the way a cast helps leg fractures heal.

After a three-day hospital stay, doctors say Loca was doing well. She almost immediately began eating soft food and remained comfortable with pain medications.

Doctors say the Exo-K9 has a padded neck bandage to help stabilize her neck fracture.

Almost three months after the surgery, Loca continues going well. When the mask is removed, you can see the imprint from the mask, but the healing has begun.

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