After Cancer, Whisky The Dog Gets A New Jaw!

Whiskey, an 80-pound Munsterlander dog living in San Francisco, is one of only a handful of dogs to undergo an experimental reconstructive procedure to regrow their jaws. About a year ago, vets found a lump in Whisky’s lower-right jaw, a tumor diagnosed as oral cancer. Although, the normal course of treatment would be to simply remove the jaw, Whisky’s owner Tom Swierk had another idea.

Tom decided to take matters into his own hands and do some research on the procedure himself. After realizing that the best doctors were just a few towns over, at UC Davis’ famed Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, he contacted them and decided to get their expert opinions.  Two oral surgeons and a biomedical engineer at the hospital had a procedure they’d been perfecting — they’d done it only five times — using cutting-edge biomedical technology to regrow jawbones in dogs who have lost bone due to cancerous tumors. Perfect for little Whisky!

After checking Whisky out, the doctors realized that a major part of his jaw needed to be amputated. Using their new technology, they operated on Whisky and within two weeks after the procedure, bone formed under Whisky’s skin, and by three months he had new bone that was very similar in density to that of his original bone. Not only did the doctors remove his cancer and jaw, a new jaw grew on it’s own.  Absolutely amazing!

UC Davis now has eight of these surgeries completed, with all the dogs doing well, with well-formed, functional jawbones. This surgery was not offered a year ago and is definitely cutting edge. It will probably help humans some day as Whisky is living proof of this wonderful procedure. Nine months later, Whisky is back on the beach playing. We send many well wishes to Whisky and his family. Go Whisky!



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