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Surprise Hemimandibulectomy!

I haven’t updated in forever!!

A lot has happened since my last update unfortunately. As far as life on three legs, Domino is doing amazing! He’s now 3 years and 4 months a Tripawd and with regular rehab exercises he’s doing great on three legs.

However a few months ago I noticed a hard bony mass on Domino’s lower left jawline. At first I unfortunately didn’t think much of it. When I did take him to the vet, the vet agreed that it wasn’t painful or worrisome and he agreed maybe it was an issue from his car accident (it’s on the same side as his amputation). So I waited a few weeks and then took him in for a routine dental cleaning and the doctor was going to xray his jaw while he was under. I dropped him off and then got the call I dreaded most. Domino’s jaw was indeed abnormal, and actually he had no bone left on the majority of that jaw bone, it was all tumor. The doctor cleaned his teeth and woke him up and referred us to a dental specialist.

Dr. Duncan at UVS is a wonderful doctor, our consultation was good, but she agreed we needed to biopsy and see exactly what we’re dealing with. While waiting to do the biopsy we hit another speed bump. Domino’s jaw had started to drift to the left and his teeth were hitting each other. I sent a video to Dr. Duncan and she agreed we needed to act sooner rather than later, and possibly more aggressively than we thought. Her concern was that he already had a jaw fracture or severe bone loss further back. We got his surgery for his biopsy schedule asap for Tuesday Sept 19th. The plan was to go in, pull the majority of the molars over the tumor and take enough sample out for a good biopsy.

Once Domino was under and Dr. Duncan was able to take xrays and do a good oral exam we decided to go ahead and  do a total hemimandibulectomy, which is basically taking that entire side of his lower left jaw, all the way back to the joint. She discovered during his exam that his jaw joint had major bone loss and was unstable. It’s a major surgery and very scary. He had the surgery and stayed the night at the specialist. I’ll be honest, I was terrified to pick him up. He was going to be missing half of his face, how that’s scarier than missing a leg I don’t know, but it was. But when I picked him up I cried happy tears, he is still my happy wiggly whiny boy. Im shocked at how good he looks and how well his recovery is going. We are now 4 days post op and Domino is eating great, drinking water just fine, and is mad that he can’t play with his brothers and sisters. It’s amazing to watch him learn so quickly how to do things all over again. It’s like watching his amputation recovery all over.

Now all there is to do is wait. We should have biopsy results in about 10-14 days. My fingers are crossed for good news, but I’m also trying to mentally prepare myself for bad news. No matter what happens I believe I made the best decision for Domino. He seems just as happy as ever.

I’ll try to post another update as Domino’s recovery continues!

Cassie and crooked faced Domino

3 Responses so far »

  1. jerry said,

    September 23, 2017 @ 10:58 pm     Reply

    Cassie! Thank you for updating. Somewhere, someone will be helped by Domino’s health issue and this procedure. You are so brave and loving and kind for wanting what was best for him, even though I know the cost was a tremendous hardship. I’m not sure I would have shown such courage but you did and now look at your happy boy! WOW!

    Thank you for educating us about the procedure and how happy a dog can be afterward. I hope you get good news back so Dom can continue enjoying life and making us all swoon. He’s such a doll!

  2. Codie Rae said,

    September 23, 2017 @ 11:20 pm     Reply

    Hey Cassie! I just got caught up on the latest over in the forums. OMD! No fun! I am so sorry you guys had to go through this. F’ing cancer!

    I had a kitty with bone cancer in the jaw many years ago. UGH. I made the decision to put him down that I regret still today. Jake was the sweetest boy cat. I didn’t know what questions to ask and I definitely did not get a strong reco for surgery from the vet I was seeing. I was afraid it would be really hard for him. Plus I could not afford a surgery :(. I would have an entirely different approach today, due in no small part to all I have seen and learned here at Tripawds. I’m amazed at the changes we have seen over the past 25 years, both in terms of how people relate to their animals and in terms of how veterinarians have responded to that, as well, of course advances in animal medicine.

    It is wonderful to see how well Domino is doing! And his cuteness factor has just gone through the roof!! 🙂 The OP is sending Domino lots of healing strength and I am putting my intentions on the best-ever biopsy results!

    Martha, Codie Rae, and the Oaktown Pack

  3. Michelle said,

    September 23, 2017 @ 11:42 pm     Reply

    Thank you for updating here. Domino is such a sweet sweet boy. I am so glad I got to meet all of you at the Party in VA. You can’t even tell he had surgery. He looks great. I am heading to the forums to check out the other information.

    Lots of healing thoughts and praying for good news here.

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

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