Dr Robbie Anderton BVSc (Hons) MANZCVS (Small Animal Medicine)
Wondering why it’s important to look in your dogs mouth?
Check out this story of Archie and his big surgery…
Archie is an AWESOME 8 year old Male Desexed Labrador, whose owners noticed he had a small lump on his bottom jaw (Mandible), just inside his front teeth.
The lump started as about 1cm in size, but then grew really quickly.
We were really worried that give the rate of growth of the lump, that it could have been an aggressive cancer. What we needed to know was – IS IT CANCER? And WHAT TYPE OF CANCER? With this information, we were going to be able to work out what type of surgery Archie may need.
Under a General Anaesthetic, we took a Wedge biopsy of Archie’s mass – this involves taking a small sample of the growth, and sending it to the lab for a diagnosis. Even at the time of taking the biopsy, the lump was starting to get bigger…
The results came back as a Squamous Cell Carcinoma – a common cancer of dog’s mouths. These cancers are both locally invasive (they invade the local tissue), but they can also spread elsewhere around the body (called Metastasis).
To make sure we could not see any evidence of the cancer anywhere else in Archie, we took Chest X-rays, examined his lymph nodes, and x-rayed his jaw to check for spread into the cavity of the mandible.
Given there was no evidence of the cancer having spread, we elected performing a “Bilateral Rostral Mandibulectomy”.
This is a surgery where the ends of Archie’s lower jaw were removed, to the level of his 3rd lower premolar tooth. This was quite a radical surgery, but the cancer had already spread further back into the mouth – it was spreading so fast! And if we were going to have the best chance of trying to cure Archie of the cancer, we had to go radical!
So Dr Robbie performed the surgery, removing the ends of Archie’s lower jaw, right down to the level of where his frenulum attached the bottom of his tongue to the bottom part of his mouth.
After some creative wound closure, Dr Robbie was able to close over all the tissues, and form Archie a kind of new lower jaw and lower lips.
The pathology report found that the cancer was completely cleared, with cells that were spreading further than we could even see from the surface!
Here’s Archie at 4 weeks post surgery!
Archie took a while to used to eating with his new shortened mouth, and had some dribbling trouble, but he is now doing really well!
How well you ask?
Check out this video! He’s eating brilliantly now, is playing with his ball (a bigger ball to make sure it doesn’t get stuck in his throat), and is back to normal!
Thanks for reading, and let us know if you have any questions!