Friday, January 17, 2014

Mandibulectomy: Before and after

Seamus the Boston terrier on his bed
When I was looking into surgical interventions for the mouth tumor Seamus developed early in his life, I didn't have a lot of time to do research. The thing grew so quickly that I just didn't have a lot of time available to weigh the pros and cons and make a truly informed decision.

At one point, however, I looked for photographs of dogs that had the same surgery I thought he might need (a mandibulectomy). Specifically, I wanted to see photographs of what the dogs looked like before the surgeons got started, and what they looked like when all was said and done.

Unfortunately, those photos were really hard to find. I never really understood why, but I decided to do something about it, and I made Seamus pose for an "after surgery" shot. I had a "before" photo that I loved, and I thought putting them in a side-by-side format could help someone else down the line.

Unfortunately, I forgot all about the film I used for this project, and it languished in the corner of my desk for ages, until I developed it. Then, I forgot to post the shots.

It's an oversight I am correcting today. Now, I know I've talked about this surgery in other places on this blog (including here and here), but these photos might be more indicative of the changes dogs with amelioblastoma and surgeries face as they recover.

So here goes.
Seamus the Boston terrier before mandiculectomy

Seamus the Boston terrier after mandiculectomy

This is the same dog, but he looks quite a bit different. His personality was the same, as was his intelligence, but he just had a different look about him.

As always, if anyone is contemplating this surgery for their dogs and has any questions or comments, remember to bring them up with a veterinarian. It's a big surgery that comes with big consequences, so it isn't something to take lightly!

And if you want to talk with me about it, contact me on social. I'm happy to help. 


  1. hi, im sorry, i'm from italy and here it is really difficult to find information on surgeries like this one. i found out that my irish setter of 11 years old with a heart condition has a tumor in her jaw. they reccomended a partial mandibulectomy. my concerns are not about the way she will look, but about the pain she will go thorugh and the stress. the vet told me that they adapt really quickly and eat by themselves after a few this true? any info or help would be much appreciated.
    best regards,

    1. Hi, Julia. I'm so sorry to hear about your dog. It's a tough decision. It's important to remember that all dogs can be different, so my experiences might not be the same as those your dog might have. Seamus could be a complainer and he was a touch dramatic, so he struggled. My pug, on the other hand, is a silly and happy guy in the face of everything, so he would be different in this situation. But that being said, I don't agree that dogs recover "quickly" from this surgery. I wrote about this a little in my first post ("People who get it"), but Seamus had pain for weeks and weeks. Eating was a real struggle, sometimes involving screaming. His surgeon only sent him home with like 3 days of meds, but they weren't strong enough, and he ended up needing to take something for pain for about a month, and then intermittently after that. He was only 2, so he had a long time left to live. It's possible that the pain was worth it, as he got 5 more years or so. But an 11 yo dog? I don't know. I'd think hard about that one. Best wishes, okay? You're doing all the right things by asking questions.