We've had a bit of bad news this weekend for TJ. Last week I noticed a sore inside TJ's mouth, But it had gone away by the evening so I assumed he had eaten something that had caused some irritation. But then Friday we noticed that it had returned. Saturday when TJ greeted me with a morning yawn, I saw that this little sore I had seen was actally a large, larger-than-a-golf-ball-sized lump in the back of his mouth. So we packed him up and walked down to our vet immediately. After not too long of a wait, we saw the vet. She explained that it looks like an epulis, which is a benign growth of the gums. It's fairly common in large dogs, especially boxers. She seemed to think it was a little strange that it was in a dog TJ's size. But she still assured us it was most likely an epulis though we are doing the recommended biopsy following the surgery, just to be sure.
We scheduled surgery for Monday morning first thing because they don't do surgery on weekends. Our vet assured us that dogs gums heal very quickly and the gums should look normal after only two days if all goes well in surgery. We took TJ in Monday morning and it was already a full house as soon as the doors opened. The assistant took TJ to the back and told me to call in around 3pm. Well, I called at 2:40 and they said they hadn't gotten to him yet. I was less than thrilled about this, but what could i do? So I was now waiting until 6pm to make my second follow-up phone call. 6pm finally arrived so I called to check on poor TJ who had now been through quite a long day.
The doctor who operated on him, Michael, told me some not so good news. Apparently the tumor is in a very dangerous spot for operating. It's attached to the frenulum, which is the little piece of tissue under the tongue that connects it to the bottom of the mouth. The mass is on both sides of this tissue and about 2 inches in length, basically the length of his entire mouth. This area is a high risk for blood loss, so Michael didn't feel comfortable opertating in such a risky area until we knew what we were dealing with. He did a biopsy and we were told we'd have to wait a week for the results. So poor TJ. He went through quite an ordeal for very little immediate results.
The good news is, this mass doesn't seem to cause TJ any pain at all. He's eating normally, still active, etc. Though I couldn't imagine having a golf ball under my tongue all the time, TJ seems to just roll with it...always my trooper.