UF veterinarians, dentists collaborate on groundbreaking surgery for stray cat

The University of Florida's College of Dentistry and College of Veterinary Medicine teamed up for the first time to successfully help a stray cat who was in dire straits.

According to the Independent Florida Alligator, the 8-year-old Siamese mix named Darryl was scheduled to be euthanized because of a large hole in the roof of his mouth that made eating and drinking difficult, and also invited infections.

After learning of Darryl's plight, the school's College of Dentistry and College of Veterinary Medicine joined forces to see if they could save Darryl and give him a shot at a normal life.

Dr. Fong Wong, a dental surgeon and prosthodontist from the university's Health Shands Hospital, first developed an acrylic cast that covered the hole in Darryl's mouth. Intended as a temporary measure, the cast allowed Darryl to eat, drink, and groom normally, the Alligator reported.

Two months later, Wong implanted a specially made metal prosthesis that permanently sealed the hole and still enables Darryl to engage in all of the activities previously made difficult or impossible by his injury. 

Julie Levy, DVM, Ph.D., DACVIM, the UF veterinarian who found Darryl at a local Humane Society, told the news that Darryl's surgery could lead to effective treatments for other animals who have similar oral problems.

"This was groundbreaking, and I'm hopeful that other animals that could not have this opportunity in the past can be saved now," Levy said.

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