What is Ameloblastoma
Most of the information I was able to find when Rose was first diagnosed referred to humans however the condition is, from what I have read, fairly similar across species. This is one of the most concise explanations I was able to find.
- Ameloblastoma is a rare, noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops most often in the jaw near the molars. Ameloblastoma begins in the cells that form the protective enamel lining on your teeth.
- The most common type of ameloblastoma is aggressive, forming a large tumor and growing into the jawbone. Treatment may include surgery and radiation. In some cases, reconstruction may be necessary to restore your teeth, jaw and facial appearance. Some types of ameloblastoma are less aggressive.
(reference Mayo Clinic)
Extract from Rosie’s Histology Report
Comment: The histological assessment of these tissues reveals a tumour of odontogenic epithelium invading into the bone and associated with prominent haemorrhagic stroma. These are generally considered benign odontogenic tumours that may act as space occupying lesions within the jaw. The tumours are notorious for invasion of surrounding tissues including the bone in particular. Very rare cases may show transformation to squamous cell carcinoma and eventual distant spread. These are rare tumours but complete excision may be curative.
Treatment of Equine Ameloblastoma
At the time of Rosie’s diagnosis (September 2019) we were given three options.
1. Surgical removal of the affected mandible and associate teeth, this required a few hours under general anesthesia, a week long stay in hospital post surgery and approximately three months being paddocked/stabled on her own to ensure full healing prior to being returned to the herd. Additionally regular proactive dental care would be required as the upper teeth would no longer have a lower grinding surface.
2. No action, let the condition take its course. We were advised that if we took this option she had an expected life span of 12-18 months depending on how rapidly the tumour progressed. This option also presented the risk of catastrophic failure of the mandible, either by sustaining an impact trauma and fracturing or by the bone simply losing structural integrity and fracturing during regular use.
3. Euthanasia. While this was something our vets knew we would not consider at this time, they were also aware that for many horse owners the cost and level of care required for either option 1 or 2 was not something everyone is able to meet.
Miss Rosie, the most amicable little horse I’ve ever met, came into our lives in October 2012. An unexpected and unplanned addition to our family, her “dating photo” popped up in my Facebook feed and something inside me said stop scrolling.
My husband Torben was working up north at the time so I flicked him a text saying something along the lines of “There’s a super cute little mare for sale that’s just popped up in my Facebook feed”. I gave him details of her age, breed, price and ‘my case’ to which he responded “Sounds good, go meet her”. I actually had to call him because I thought I was being punked!
We were not planning on expanding our family of 5 horses to that of 6… our barn was already full! Sometimes though the universe has plans you just don’t know about. So I sent a message and made arrangements to go meet Rosie.