30th March 2017
Storm, a 9 year old Springer presented with fibrosarcoma of the mandible (lower jaw). This was treated with a radical rostral (front end) mandibulectomy. We placed a screw between the halves of the lower jaw to maintain stability before removing the diseased tissue with a margin. We sent the excised tissue away to verify margins have been achieved.
Storm was eating within a few hours,. It took him a few days to learn to eat effectively but he got the hang of it! Dogs have no body image issues and live in the “here and now”. So long as it doesn’t hurt, they just don’t care. We give a range of analgesics for these cases, including local nerve blocks and we expect them to be eating, albeit a bit messily, within hours of waking up.
Owners of these cases are invariably surprised by how well their dogs cope, and how quickly they bounce back.
George, an 11 year old cross bred dog presented with this horrendous looking ulcerated mass that had grown rapidly affecting the front of his jaw. It proved to be an osteosarcoma. Chest xrays gave no sign of spread to the chest, though microscopic disease might well have been present and the owner was aware of this. The mass with a margin of healthy jaw was excised, with a screw used to stabilise the halves of the lower jaw. The owners decided against post-op chemotherapy, which would have been an option to help suppress the development of any secondaries, but they were delighted with how well George did, and that this function was achieved rapidly post-op.
If you are considering these surgeries for your pet, it is a difficult thing to know how well YOU will cope with seeing your dog like this. We can easily put you in touch with a number of owners who can tell you how they felt before and after. You can meet their dogs and see for yourself. To date we have not had one owner who regretted having this surgery done.
Although the excisions look massive, once the dogs are up and about and the lip folds hang down, they don’t look much different to a dog that is just letting its tongue hang out on a hot day.