Obie - a canine cancer survivor story

Obie presented to AMCS Oncology when he was 3 ½ years old for a mass effect involving the gingiva of his mouth.  The owners noticed an irregular area of tissue when Obie was yawning one day.  He was taken in to his regular veterinarian and a biopsy was performed.  He was so young; cancer really wasn’t on their radar.  The diagnosis was an oral squamous cell carcinoma in his upper jaw over his incisors.  He was referred for oncology consultation and possibly surgery.  Advanced imaging (CT) was performed of his head to evaluate the tumor for surgical resectability. 

Thankfully, based on Obie's oral examination and the CT scan, the mass was confined to the tissues of the front of his maxilla.  He was a great candidate for surgery. 

In general, surgery and radiation therapy are the most common treatments used for the local control of oral tumors.  Surgical resection is the best option for the longest control but is also very location dependent.  When the maxilla is involved with the tumor (as is the case for Obie), it can be a bit of an "iceberg" effect with what you see on the surface is not necessarily what is happening with the microscopic tissue below.  That is why the CT was very important to have performed prior to surgery for him.  Squamous cell carcinomas typically have some underlying bone involvement and surgical resection should also include bony margins. 

In Obie's case, a partial rostral maxillectomy was performed to get around his tumor from a bony perspective.   Ideally, we need to get a margin of normal tissue around the tumor to feel confident that it is not going to recur locally in the mouth.  Obie had surgery in February of 2012 and is doing great!  He enjoys playing with his ball and chewing on antlers! 

Check out his video!