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Our Heartbreaking Story: Boxer Jaw Cancer-Symptoms and Treatment

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Let’s start with “what is it?”  Gingiva Cancer (also known as Squamous Cell Carcinoma) is a progressive, rapid (weeks) local invasion of neoplastic epithelial cells within the oral cavity of dogs.   Basically this type of cancer is highly invasive to bone (in most cases the jaw bone).  This aggressive type of cancer is more likely to spread to the lymph nodes rather than the lungs.  Cause of death is secondary to local recurrence and Cachexia (extreme lose of weight).  Symptoms include: excessive salivation, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), halitosis (bad breath), weight loss, loose teeth, bloody discharge, facial deformity, reactive hyperplasia (increased cell growth). The good news is there is treatment options when caught early. The bad news is it requires the boxer to be put under anesthesia/sedative for surgery to take place. ***Please make sure that the veterinarian does not administer Acepromazine.  Boxers have a sensitivity to the this drug.*** TREATMENT: Surgically remove the diseased tissue and bone with chemotherapy to follow.  Basically they carefully remove the teeth, gums, and/or the jaw (either a mandibulectomy [lower jawbone] or maxillectomy [upper jawbone]). Since this is an operation, a soft diet is required .  Veterinarians prescribe a pain killers due to the nature of the surgery. On a personal note, we are experiencing this very issue with our Daisy girl.  Daisy went through surgery for Gingival Hyperplasia on July 8th.  She did amazing but this opened up Pandora's box.  A few days later, her gums looked like they were healing nicely.  Approximately 10 days after surgery, as I was brushing her teeth her mouth started to bleed terribly.  When I took a closer look, behind her bottom right canine tooth was a large gaping hole that was bleeding.  Immediately I took her to the vet.  She had developed an infection and was given antibiotics.  She did not heal or get better from the antibiotics.  Following the antibiotics her gums became extremely swollen and began to bleed (see below pic where her gums are holding her lips open).  All of this happened very quickly (within a few weeks).

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Additional stronger antibiotics were prescribed and the vet felt  that her bottom right canine was “dead” and causing the infection.  A second surgery was scheduled on August 19th to remove the canine.  After discussing her surgery and reviewing the x-ray with the vet, we beloieved that Daisy had developed a very severe bone infection (Osteomyelitis) that we thought ate away her jawbone (see below x-ray where white jawbone ends and then continues on backside).  During surgery 4 teeth (the canine, incisor, and 2 front teeth) were removed (basically they pretty much fell out of her mouth).  The vet believes this infection was a complication from the 1st surgery.  He took a tissue culture to test it for a super-bug and a biopsy to check for cancer.   In the meantime, she was put on a 4 quadrant antibiotic therapy to try and combat the infection.  At this time she can only eat wet food and has lost 11 pounds.

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About a day later we were informed that she had Squamous Cell Carcinoma (Gingiva/Jawbone Cancer).  We are completely heartbroken for our girl. At this time, we are scheduled to meet with a veterinary oncologist.  We will keep you posted on the prognosis, in the meantime please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Now it’s your turn, have you experienced this with your boxer?  We’d love to hear your stories!  Email: stories@dailyboxer.com

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12 Responses to Our Heartbreaking Story: Boxer Jaw Cancer-Symptoms and Treatment

  1. Kirsten December 28, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    Our boxer, Java is scheduled for a mandibulectomy on Tuesday due to a chondrosarcoma tumor under her tongue. We have watched it get bigger day by day. I’m extremely anxious about the surgery.

    • Daisy January 1, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

      Good Luck, please let us know how Java is doing.

  2. Sallie September 9, 2015 at 1:37 am #

    Please let me know how Daisy is doing now. What a heart breaking story.

    • Daisy January 12, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

      Daisy has been cancer free since September

      • Ashley March 31, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

        so glad she is doing well!

      • Jacqueline September 7, 2016 at 4:28 am #

        What treatments did you do for Daisy?

        • Jacqueline September 7, 2016 at 4:53 am #

          So Relieved to find a story with a happy ending in regards to this disease!
          My poor Girl has been going through this as well since 08/01 and I’m searching for hope and guidance. Please I just can’t lose her.

        • Daisy February 19, 2017 at 1:28 am #

          We used a holistic vet that prescribed a Chinese herbal form of chemo after we did the surgery.

  3. Debbie September 20, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

    My Boxer is 11 years old and has jaw bone cancer. He has good days and bad days, and i know if i have another week with him, i am blessed. It’s like losing a child.

  4. Katy March 2, 2016 at 4:41 am #

    ♡♡CÁNCER FREE♡♡ Words I wish we heard more often than not! Glad your k9 kid is doing well. I have 2 a boy,and a girl. My girl just turned 9 so I’m getting concerned about health issues dueto growing older. So far ni reason(s) to worry but our boy is about 1 year younger and seems to be having an issue with his k9 tooth. ,fingers crossed. I’m taking him soon to have it checked out.

  5. LuckyStarStryke June 28, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    We are just beginning our adventure with Hyperplasia and have an upcoming appointment. In hindsight – do you have any suggestions from your journey and decisions you would have make differently? Our boy, Lucky, has heart issues and I am unsure about sedation. Thank you for your information and we are sending you all much love!

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