A tiny dog can enjoy her dinner for the first time in her life after a top vet fixed her wonky jaw – with a 3D printer.
Poppet the Shih Tzu had struggled all her eight years because generations of in-breeding had left her with a severely deformed bottom jaw, which was way too small to hold her tongue.
But now she can finally enjoy kibble after a vet Dr Ryk Botes performed pioneering surgery on the little mite – and replaced her entire lower jaw with one he made on a 3D printer.
Dr Botes, a specialist orthopaedics and replacement surgery, successfully fitted her with a 3D printed titanium implant.
Poppy’s tongue permanently hung out from her mouth leaving her struggling to eat or clean herself due to her lower jaw was broken on both sides.
Widow Daphne Harrigan’s “dream came true” after the tricky hour-long op left her “a different dog”.
Daphne adopted Poppet, suspected of being used for illegal puppy farming, two years ago.
Her daughter Debbie Crouch said Poppet has made a good recovery and is a “different dog” following the operation.
She said: “Before the operation, her tongue lolled out of her mouth permanently and she couldn’t eat or clean herself properly.
“Now she can and it’s as if she has a whole new lease of life.
“It’s a dream come true for mum to see Poppet living a normal, happy life.
“It’s wonderful to see her – and equally wonderful to see how happy she makes my mum.
“We can’t thank Ryk and his team enough for what they’ve done for Poppet. He has really gone above and beyond and we’re so grateful to him.”
Poppet helped fill a hole in Daphne’s life following the loss of her husband 11 years ago.
She has other health problems which suggested she may have been used for breeding on a puppy farm.
Dr Botes, a branch partner at Medivet in Faversham, Kent, felt the only way to properly fix the dog’s jaw – which had a large segment missing – was to attempt a partial jaw replacement.
Jaw replacements are common in humans but Poppet’s small size made it particularly difficult to design and produce a custom-made implant.
Dr Botes sent CT scans to specialist firm 3D Metal Printing to create the titanium jaw for Poppet.