Posted October 5, 2012

Jake is a 10 year old Border Collie who was brought to us for a second opinion on his case. He was unable to eat properly, losing weight and strength, and his mouth had a large mass located under his tongue. For the last 4 months he had been in the care of another veterinarian who diagnosed a “sialocele” and subsequently removed Jakes salivary glands on one side. The surgery did nothing for him and now Jake was weak, thin and on his last legs. He had lost 15% of his body weight and his family was preparing to say goodbye.

In addition to his oral mass, Jake also had a that the two problems were connected through a band of tissue extending between them. Although an aggressive form of cancer was possible, it was also conceivable that a “foreign body” was lodged under the tongue and was draining through his chin.

We radiographed his head and chest, evaluated his blood work, and found no evidence that the disease had spread beyond his mouth. Time to dig into the problem…literally!

Jake was prepped for surgery and anesthetized with a safe protocol for extremely sick patients. The mass under the tongue was dissected to reveal a 2-inch piece of wood lodged in the base of his tongue. Jake’s body was trying it’s best to remove the wood but it was too much material. Underneath the mass was a draining fistula that went right through the bottom of his chin. We removed the wood as well as the extra tissue under and around the tongue so that no wood fibers remained and the fistula could close forever.

above – surgical removal of wood

Jake recovered wonderfully. He gained all his weight back and the area inside his mouth returned to normal. It was the most remarkable turnaround I had ever seen…. from near death, to a typical busy Border Collie….as if nothing had happened.

Jake’s case highlights the importance of a second opinion. If not for his family’s decision to have his case examined with a fresh perspective, Jake’s life would have ended because of a small piece of wood.

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