Franklin Vets Blog


June 21, 2017

Some dogs and cats develop cancer on their mandibles (jawbone). Most of these cancers will require surgical removal as part of their treatment. Mandibulectomy in most cases is a partial mandibulectomy, involving removal of the affected part of the mandible only.mandible


This is a relatively complex surgery that also results in some changes to the appearance of the face. The more of the mandible that is removed, the more the change in appearance. It can also result in changes to tongue function, so it is best to talk through the whole procedure in detail with the vet.

Having said that, successful removal of a cancer from the front of the mandible can be life-saving for the patient, and given they don’t mind at all what they look like (it’s only us that think like that) then it is best to think of the problem from the patient’s point of view rather than our own.

Suitable candidates

Cancer surgery requires a level of pre-surgery work up, including thoracic x-rays, probably biopsy from drainage lymph nodes, and blood tests. It may also be required to have CT imaging of the bone to see the extent of the tumour.

Time involved in clinic

Depending on the amount of tissue removed, these patients may require a relatively short stay in the clinic (24 hours) or possibly a few days if eating is difficult. Some will be fitted with a feeding tube for a few days until they are eating voluntarily.

After care

Some assistance with feeding, either via a feeding tube in the neck or simply hand-feeding, may be required for a few days. Protection of the wound by home rest is also sensible.

How to book

Give reception a ring on 09 238 7486 to discuss transfer of your patient to our clinic for assessment and treatment. You may be asked to bring any clinical notes, x-rays images, and medications with you when you come.