Nala’s Story – Mouth / Oral Tumour

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel after maxillectomy surgery to remove an oral tumour at Fitzpatrick Referrals

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Nala pictured in the garden at Fitzpatrick Referrals after maxillectomy surgery to remove her oral tumour.

Nala is a beautiful three-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was referred to our oncology hospital in Guildford, to investigate a mass in her mouth.

One day her family happened to notice that her gum was swollen, while she was playing with a toy. She had shown no signs of any pain or discomfort but to be on the safe side they took her to their primary care vet to investigate. Biopsies were taken from the gum and the bone of her upper jaw, and when the results came back they were shocked to hear that this swelling was likely to be a tumour known as an acanthomatous ameloblastoma.

It was a relief to hear that this type of tumour is benign and, as such, would not metastasise through the body. Without surgery, however, it would continue to aggressively infiltrate the gum and underlying bone, so Nala was referred to our Soft Tissue Service.

Her assessment

A few days later, she arrived at our Guildford hospital and was admitted for examination by Senior Surgeon Dr Laurent Findji.

After assessing Nala, Laurent spoke to her family to discuss the situation. He confirmed that while this was a benign tumour, it would likely continue to grow if not removed. To ensure an optimal surgical result, a CT scan was performed to determine the extent to which the tumour had invaded the local bone and to check for any other malformations.

A wide excision was recommended in order to prevent the tumour from recurring and this would potentially affect the shape of her face as well. After considering all the implications, Nala’s family decided to give the go-ahead to remove the tumour.


Two weeks later, Nala arrived back at the hospital and was taken in to be prepared for surgery.

Surgical Resident Chris Webb worked alongside Specialist Dr Findji to excise the tumour from her upper jaw in a procedure known as a maxillectomy.

Surgery went smoothly, removing a small portion of the jaw, and samples of the tissue were taken to be sent off to an external laboratory for analysis.

Nala was a star patient, recovering very well from her anaesthetic and eating comfortably shortly afterwards.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel being comforted by a vet nurse outdoors at Fitzpatrick Referrals

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Nala being comforted by Veterinary Nurse Ellie in the garden at Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue.

She was able to be discharged the very next afternoon and was extremely excited to see her dad waiting for her when she left the hospital! She will continue her recovery at home and we look forward to seeing her in a few weeks when she returns for her post-operative checkup.

Read more about our Soft Tissue Service

Fitzpatrick Referrals