After a month or so of tests and opinions, we took our family dog Maggie to Veterinary Referral Center of Malvern, PA. She had what looked like a small tumor on the front of her face/snout that we later learned to be much bigger then it appeared. Our choice was surgery, or wait and hope that the tumor (Squamous Cell Carcinoma) not over take her whole mouth, nose and head. Surgery on a dog that just turned 9 was not an easy decision, but we liked the people at the Veterinary Referral Center very much and they gave us reason for optimism, while still realistically representing the risks. Dr. Sadanaga performed what is called a rostral lateral maxillectomy. I did a ton of reading about what this procedure would be like, and how it could be very disfiguring. Essentially they take a giant piece of the dog’s top jaw including the teeth. I saw pictures of dogs with shaved heads that looked very, very bruised and sore. So, when I went to pick up Mags, I was ready for the worst. What I got? Really surprised me… In a good way! Maggie will have a little under bite on one side (pic below) but she is no where near the photos of some of the other dogs I have seen that had a rostral lateral maxillectomy procedure. (Some are really, really devastating.) She still has a way to go, but after a few days to recover in Malvern, we picked her up. When she saw us, this dog just out of radical surgery energetically pulled away from the nurse that brought her out to us, and even fresh from a big dose of sedative to calm her for the 2 hour ride home, she got up on both hind legs, excited, jumping up to see everyone. She was very happy to be going home. She was even happier when she got home. Here are some pics of her with her new jawline. When her mouth is open you can’t tell she had a thing done hardly. When her mouth is closed, which is almost never (she’s a talker/smiler), her lower right canine sticks out like a bulldog.
I was surprised she was in such high spirits, I was even more shocked how great her mouth looked considering what we thought it was going to be like. Again, she’s not out of the woods yet, she has a long recovery, etc. But in all honesty, she came home in worse shape after the anesthesia/xrays last month than she did for the rostral lateral maxillectomy. Thanks so much for all our family and friends for being such a constant support. Thanks to the great people at the hospital too! Please keep Maggo in your prayers! We’ll keep you posted!