Lexy's Squamous Cell Carcinoma

by Amy Kennedy

Lexy is an 8 years old Golden Retriever, we have had her since she was 8 weeks old and treated her
as part of our family. We actually consider her to be our "other" daughter.

About a year ago Lexy broke one of her back teeth and we took her to our vets to have it looked at.

Not many treatment options for that, basically it had to be removed. We agreed to that and Lexy went in and had her tooth extracted, coming out with no problems. Once her tooth was out the vet sent it away to have it biopsied.

The results came back stating there were some "abnormal cells." 

Our vet, whom we had trusted for over 7 years with Lexy and our cats, stated that was nothing to worry about .

Lexy's mouth was not healing well. 

Being a nurse, I can point out infections or trouble healing really well so I took her back. The vet took a quick look at it and said there was nothing wrong with it. Trusting her we went home and I kept an eye on it.

A month later I could smell this awful odor coming from her mouth telling me there was still something wrong. 

Back we went to the vets. Once there the vet took another quick look at it and said, nothing to worry about and handed me a syringe and told me it had to be cleaned out once a day.

Another month went by and Lexy was still showing complications with her tooth.

I told my husband I was taking her somewhere else. I wanted a second opinion.

I made an appointment with another vet who I had seen another time with one of my birds . Got Lexy in ASAP.

X-rays revealed that the infection had gone into her eye socket!!!

The new vet we were seeing told us the best thing to do was ship her to a specialist. They have more experience with issues like this.

We went the next day.

Lexy was set up to see a vet who specializes in dentistry.

We had to leave her there for the day, and we waited for a call.

Lexy had to have an emergency surgery.

Once the surgery was done the biopsy from it got sent to New York City for testing.

Weeks later on a Monday night the phone rang.......

I answered it, the gentleman on the phone said they got Lexy's test results back and she had squamous cell carcinoma in her jaw!

There we were shocked again with what our poor girl had ended up with.

I asked how long has she got. He said straight out he was sorry but without treatment about 1 month!!

My husband and I started to cry.

I then made another appointment, this time with an oncologist, to discuss what our options were. Speaking to the oncologist was scary but he was very precise and said, we had 2 options, palliative treatment or a surgery to try and remove it.

We went home that night full of turmoil. I went to see our normal vet to see what her opinion was and what we should do.

I did not want my baby to die!

We decided to go all out no matter what the cost was and try and save Lexy.

The next week Lexy went in for surgery. We were told we could pick her up that evening. We found things to do in the city all day and once the time came we went to get our baby.

The girls at the desk warned us of what she would look like, but someone telling you is not the same as the real thing.

The door opened and out came Lexy ...

Tears started to roll out my eyes, she looked so horrible. Her face was all swollen and purple but she was so happy to see us!
We took Lexy home and started our long journey of recovery.

Three weeks in we got a call for the surgeon  telling us the tests were back and that they had gotten all of her cancer! We were so happy!

Lexy had to go back at 3 months for her check up and passed with flying colors.

This journey was a very long and hard thing to go through but if we had to do it again we would.

I then tried to get a hold of our old vet to let her know what had happened, but since then she retired and I could not get a hold of her. I sat down one night and wrote her a letter sharing how much we trusted her with our family member and how Lexy almost died. I got her address and sent it. Have heard nothing 5 months later

I want to let everybody know that clean looking teeth does not always means they are healthy.

Keep and eye on your dog's breath also.


  1. I'm so sorry you all had to go through that, but so glad that Lexy is better now!! We trust our vets to know what is best for our pets and we expect them to know when something is wrong or when it;s fine. Unfortunately sometimes they're wrong. I am like you, though, with my heart cat Annabelle. I would do whatever it took to save her.

  2. Oh what a heart-wrenching story , but I'm so happy for you that Lexy is doing so well. Just goes to show how important it is to be an advocate for your own pet's health. Lexy's a lucky girl!

    1. It is ever so important. In theory our job should end by taking a dog to the vet and following their instructions. In real life, though, we need to be on our toes and keep the vets on their toes constantly.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. Just like with human doctors, we want to place our full faith and trust in them, but having tended to sick parents and many sick dogs...you must be the patient's advocate and if something doesn't sit right in your gut - you must act. I'm glad that things turned out so well for you and Lexy...poor thing.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Sometimes we pay a very hefty price for not listening to our gut. Or, more commonly, not having the courage to stand up and insist that something is very definitely wrong and DEMAND that it be looked into. This is my problem... I'm very non-confrontational. I still feel like one of our sweet ones could've lived a bit longer if I had been more insistent/persistent about a few things. I will forever beat myself for not pushing harder with my concerns.
    I'm so glad that Lexi was ultimately saved and bless you for going the distance to give her the best possible chance. I am more than certain that she is 150% worth it!

  5. Heather J (a co-worker)July 29, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Awe Amy, in my next life I wanna come back as your dog! :) seriously, I am so thankful this was your outcome! We love Amy and Lexy :)

  6. 18 months later and Lexy is doing super!! so glad we extended her life and she loves us more and more every day for it xoxoxx


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