A New Beginning: A Dog Who Has Lived with Salivary Tumour for Six Years Finally Gets the Help He Needs

A dog who lived with a massive salivary gland tumor for six years has gotten a new lease on life thanks to multiple rescues and a record-breaking operation.

Jake was first spotted by rescuers when he was seen wandering as a stray in the summer of 2022 in rural Texas. Cribs for Canines found him and went door knocking in the neighborhood. It turns out Jake had a family, but they had to be convinced to give him up. According to Long Way Home Adoptables, who took over care of Jake from their “sweet friends at Cribs for Canines,” the group worked every single day for a week to get his owners to surrender him.

Thankfully, the family eventually agreed. Although his former family said they loved him, the many years of neglect had resulted in the dog’s head and neck ballooning out to enormous size.

“Jake has been living with a salivary tumor for (according to the owners) SIX YEARS, as they assumed it was the result of a snake bite,” Long Way Home Adoptables posted on Facebook when they got him. “He lived as an indoor dog, is *exceptionally* well behaved, potty trained, good with other dogs, and even knows how to shake.”

Rescuers learned that Jake is a true survivor. Not only had he been living with this massive tumor but he also survived the West Fertilizer Plant Explosion as a puppy. “We found out that he is actually a survivor of the 2013 West Fertilizer Company ammonium nitrate explosion, where he was the only remaining living puppy in a litter there. Lord, this boy has been THROUGH it,” Long Way Home Adoptables wrote on Facebook.

They went to Texas Animal Medical Center in Waco who said that it was the biggest salivary gland tumor they had ever seen. They ended up draining 1200cc of salivary fluid from his neck during his initial treatments! As a result, he could move his head for the first time in years! “It was such a simple thing that could have been done to give him relief,” his rescuers said.

The majority of the mass was a pocket of skin filled with saliva but the tumor turned out to be cancerous and had spread from the gland all the way up to Jake’s ear. So he would need surgery. Jake went into the expert hands of Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (VMBS) who removed as much of the cancerous tissue as they could.

“We knew that this tumor was so massive that there’s no way you could get clean borders, but that’s OK — we just wanted to give him a better quality of life for however long his life may be,” April Plemons, the founder and executive director of Long Way Home Adoptables said in a Texas A&M press release.

At 10 years old and looking good, Jake’s doctors and rescuers think he has a few years left in him to enjoy. With his loving temperament and laid back, affectionate nature, Jake really deserved a happy home. And he got one!

As luck (or fate) would have it, Jake found that special someone because of his treatment at Texas A&M. Josie Brown, a veterinary practice manager in Spring, saw Jake’s story on social media, fell in love with him and adopted him. “With her background in veterinary medicine, Brown turned out to be “a perfect fit.”

As of January 2023, Jake is in his new home! Jake’s mass has grown again over time, but thankfully Brown drains it once a week and that keeps it in check so it doesn’t get out of hand.“Jake is the absolute best boy and really is living his best life,” Brown said. “He never seems to be in pain and he enjoys being with his people. It didn’t take him any time at all to adjust to life with us; it was like he was meant to be here this whole time. We are very thankful for Long Way Home Adoptables and Texas A&M for everything they did for Jake.”