(CNN) – They’re both tough on the outside, little Papi and his owner, John Shanahan. They’re big Red Sox fans, too; if you couldn’t tell by the name.
Little Papi couldn’t always run around. A dental disease caused a painful opening in his mouth that three surgeries could not fix, and it slowed him down. Dr. William Rosenblad at MSPCA Angell said, “It gets full of hair and infection; it gets very uncomfortable for Papi.”
Just when Shanahan had all but given up, Dr. Rosenblad got creative by calling for help from a hospital that treats people, not animals. “He had heard of this material that might be good for Papi, and I didn’t even hesitate, I said let’s do it, because I was out of options,” said Shanahan.
Dr. Jeff Karp at Brigham and Women’s Hospital said, “We’ve been developing tissue adhesives in my laboratory for the past 10 years or so. Multiple different platforms; glues that can work inside the body, including inside a beating heart.”
The glue, which was developed at Brigham and Women’s, worked. It closed the hole, and Papi’s mouth is healing. Now, Little Papi can go back to watching Big Papi at Fenway Park, and at home, always by Shanahan’s side.
“I’m grateful to all of them…I’m grateful to this hospital,” said Shanahan. “It’s the only hospital that I’ll bring him to. To bring him here and to get the treatment that he’s gotten, it’s been worth it. It’s been worth it.”
Dr. Karp, who’s a world expert in stem cell therapies and tissue adhesives, said medical glues can be used on dogs, cats and people. The adhesive he used here will eventually dissolve in Papi’s mouth once the wound is fully healed.
Karp runs an innovative biomedical engineering laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.