Cruiser is a 13 year old male Maltese Terrier who initially presented with a large swelling on one side of his neck which was drained. To confirm a diagnosis the fluid was submitted to the lab for microscopic analysis, which revealed this was in fact a sterile salivary mucocoele rather than an infection, different type of cyst or cancerous.
Cruiser had a cervical salivary mucocoele (under the jaw) and later discovered to have a sublingual salivary mucocoele as well (inside his mouth). The cause is rarely found though often suspected to be trauma to the region of the salivary gland causing rupture. Saliva will then leak and build up in the glandular tissue causing what appears to be a ‘cyst’ or better known as a mucocoele.
If the mucocoeles become too large or develop inside the mouth they can obstruct breathing which was what was happening with Cruiser, who also had pre-existing heart disease. The risk of a complete airway obstruction was too high as it was already starting to affect his breathing on a day to day basis, so the decision was made to proceed with surgery. Unfortunately regular drainage doesn’t solve the underlying leakage and increases the risk of infection which would make surgery much more difficult.
Due to Cruiser's heart disease it was imperative that in addition to the surgeon he had another vet and two fully qualified veterinary nurses dedicated to managing his anaesthetic along with two junior nurses on-hand. With careful drug selection, vigilant monitoring, valuable equipment and a complete action plan Cruiser underwent his major operation.
After a successful surgery (in which we also removed one eye due to inflammation and possible glaucoma, and cleaned his teeth), Cruiser will now lead a comfortable happy life on his heart medications.