Shady (aka Shady Joe), a 9-year old Labrador Retriever mixed breed, initially presented to Veterinary Specialty Care in March 2018 to see Dr. Gabrielle Angelo for a jaw tumor. The owner had noticed blood on his exercise ball in December and took him to his veterinarian for a dental. Shady Joe had 3 teeth removed from the lower jaw and a biopsy of his gums was performed. Unfortunately, the biopsy showed squamous cell carcinoma; an aggressive cancer of the jaw. Dr. Angelo performed tests to look for any signs that the cancer had spread including radiographs of the lungs and a fine needle aspirate of a lymph node that drains the jaw. The good news is that there was no evidence that the cancer had spread. The bad news was that a CT scan of the jaw showed that both sides of the bone of the lower jaw were being destroyed by the cancer! The best treatment option is typically surgical removal of the affected bone, but in this case, it would involve removing almost all of the right side of the lower jaw and half of the left side. Shady’s dad decided to move forward with the surgery. Dr. Ludwig removed all of the involved bone and a portion of the lip and placed a feeding tube just in case Shady didn’t want to eat after surgery. Within 2 weeks of surgery, the feeding tube was removed and the incision healed. The biopsy showed that all of the cancer had been removed but there was still a change it could recur. Seven months after surgery, Shady “Half Jaw” Joe is doing great playing with his ball!

Shady’s owner recently wrote in to his doctors telling how great Shady is doing! “One of the most amazing things to have seen was the first time Shady found his rubber Kong frisbee after i decided to let him have it back. This was in late September in the backyard and i watched from a distance as he used his paws to lift it up so he could use his inner jaw and teeth to carry it over to me. He pranced around so proudly as he held his frisbee with his short jaw.” We love these updates and are so happy Shady is doing well. He is truly a special case. 🐾

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