Local News

Dog With Hole in Mouth May Lead to Medical Breakthrough

Posted September 14, 2007 1:59 p.m. EDT
Updated September 17, 2007 8:29 a.m. EDT

— Doctors at NC State's Veterinary Hospital are exploring brand new high tech surgery to help a little dog.

A team of Vets is focused on the case because, they say, it could open new doors in animal and perhaps even in human medicine.

Pez is a beagle with a big, toothy grin and plenty of energy. He also is a pup with a problem.

“He loves to play and he loves to swim – and run around!” said Sound Pet Animal Rescue staff member Peyton Gaudiosi as Pez jumped from her lap.

Gaudiosi brought the stray home from a shelter.

You can't tell at first glance, but Pez’s problem is a large hole in the roof of his mouth. Food often gets caught or ends up in his nose.

“There is a lot of snorting and sneezing” when that happens, Gaudiosi said.

First, Dr. Kevin Monce took a look, then he called research veterinarians in Raleigh.

“This is the kind of case that, you don't see something like this very often,” Monce said.

Dr. Guillaume Chanoit is at the N.C. State University School of Veterinary Medicine.

“I would say it’s pretty rare to have such a big hole,” Chanoit said.

Chanoit and a team of vets are working on a high-tech solution. They're using three-dimensional computer models to design a custom plate for Pez.

It’s brand new technology. You might call Pez a guinea pig.

Before, this kind of reconstruction would take multiple surgeries. This will, they hope, be a one-step operation.

“We think that (a) it’s going to be a tremendous change for Pez, and (b) we think that there are a lot of patients that will benefit from that surgery later on,” Chanoit said.

The dog’s case, doctor’s said, could help more animals and even humans with similar injuries.

Vets will run trial surgery on a model with help from the N.C. State School of Engineering. Then, they hope to be ready to operate on Pez within two months. It could cost around $4,000.

And finally, after all that, the rescue group hopes that when it’s all done, Pez can also find a good home.