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By Citizen Reporter


Another first for Onderstepoort Vet Hospital after dog gets titanium jaw

Harold, the rescue dog, had a broken jaw due to years of abuse.

Harold, a dog abused and neglected for years, finally has a shot at being a normal pup, thanks to groundbreaking surgery and a lifesaving financial donation from pet insurer Dotsure. 

Harold has a broken jaw that has broken down so much he is unable to eat. His jawbone became so weak that he needed an extensive bone graft and a custom plate to accommodate his remaining mandibular bone fragments. 

Luckily, the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital (OVAH) team were ready to assist. 

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CT scan images of Harold’s head were sent to former UP specialist prosthodontist, Professor Cules van Heerden. He, with his team from the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein, developed and 3D-printed a custom titanium plate.

The screws to secure the plate were constructed by human orthopaedic company Saspire. 

Harold’s surgery took place on 29 October, and was a first for the OVAH. 

Veterinary specialist Professor Gerhard Steenkamp and specialist veterinary small animal surgeon Dr Ross Elliot spent a long time working on Harold’s custom plate, OVAH director Dr Paul van Dam said. 

“It is the team’s trailblazing and pioneering spirit that has made it possible. 

“Several other veterinarians have also committed their time and expertise to provide Harold with the best care possible and this is no small feat.”

Harold’s new owners are ecstatic that their rescue dog is getting the care he needs, after so many years of trauma and neglect. 

“He deserves to know that he is loved, he deserves to play tug of war with his new best puppy friend and he deserves a chance at life. 

“We have been trying to raise the funds to pay for Harold’s much-needed surgery and are so grateful that Dotsure generously stepped in to assist us,” Harold’s human mom and dad said.

Dotsure CEO David Roache said the experience in helping Harold, and supporting the OVAH, was “deeply rewarding”, especially in light of such an innovative surgery. 

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“This surgery will make a monumental contribution to South African veterinary medicine and the industry as a whole. 

“We are hopeful that the surgery will lead to a good outcome for Harold and pave the way for more dogs to be saved through this procedure.

“We urge South Africans to get involved in taking care of animals and ensure that no furry friend is left behind.”

Compiled by Nica Richards

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environment University of Pretoria (UP/TUKS)

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