Oral Surgery Saves Dotti the Great Dane’s Life!

Dotti is a two-year-old, female spayed, Great Dane (figure 1) that was referred to Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialists for treatment of a previously diagnosed oral squamous cell carcinoma.  The dog had a large, fast growing, mass on the rostral mandible that appeared about a month prior to presentation that was biopsied by the referring veterinarian.  The owners reported she seemed to be uncomfortable when eating.

Oral examination showed a firm, ulcerated, proliferative mass that extended from the left mandibular second premolar (306) to the right mandibular third premolar (407) (figures 2,3 and 4).  Intraoral radiographs showed areas of bony changes and tooth displacement caused by the mass (figure 5).

 

Surgical excision of the mass was recommended as the best course of treatment and was approved by the owners.  A bilateral rostral mandibulectomy was performed to obtain a 1cm tumor free margin, which involved removal of the mandibles to the level of left mandibular third premolar (307) and right mandibular fourth premolar (408).  Care was taken to prevent excessive blood loss and allow a tension-free cosmetic closure (figures 6 and 7).  The dog recovered well from the surgery and was eating on her own within days after the procedure.

One year after the procedure Dottie continues to do well and the owners report she is back to herself again and even plays with toys in spite of a shorter lower jaw!

One year after the procedure Dottie continues to do well and the owners report she is back to herself again and even plays with toys in spite of a shorter lower jaw!

The removed section of jaw was submitted for histopathological analysis.  The final report diagnosed the mass as a papillary squamous cell carcinoma with clean margins.

Papillary squamous cell carcinoma is an oral tumor that typically affects younger, large breed dogs.  The tumor does not spread through the body like regular squamous cell carcinoma can but is very destructive and causes significant oral discomfort ultimately leading to euthanasia if not treated.  Treatment by complete surgical removal offers the best long-term prognosis, similar to Dotti’s treatment.