What is Mouth Cancer?
Book First Walk Free!
Symptoms of Mouth Cancer in Dogs
- Abnormal swelling of gums, tongue or soft tissue
- Abnormal discoloration of gums, tongue or soft tissue
- Swelling of the muzzle or face
- Extreme and unusual bad breath (halitosis)
- Refusal or reluctance to eat
- Excessive saliva production beyond normal drooling
- Swollen lymph nodes
Causes of Mouth Cancer in Dogs
- Exposure to carcinogens over lifespan
- Inflammatory viral infections
- Genetic predisposition
Diagnosis of Mouth Cancer in Dogs
Owners should periodically inspect their pet’s mouth for swelling, abnormal growths and discoloration. Sometimes petting can reveal swollen lymph nodes or lumps, which should be promptly reported to a veterinarian.
The veterinarian will make a visual inspection to rule out trauma-induced swelling and irritation (e.g. from chewing on a rawhide toy or bone), and will perform a biopsy - removing a small piece of tissue for laboratory testing. An accurate, laboratory-verified diagnosis is essential for effective treatment. There are many individual varieties of cancer, but in general, melanoma can appear nearly anywhere while squamous cell carcinoma commonly involve the gums or tonsils. The veterinarian will also examine the lungs and lymph nodes to ensure the cancer has not spread.
Treatment of Mouth Cancer in Dogs
The veterinarian will likely schedule your dog for surgery to remove the tumors, and if they are large or of certain types, will recommend radiation therapy as well. Many cancers, if caught early and accurately identified, are cured by surgical removal. In general, non-tonsil squamous cell carcinoma is minimally invasive and if caught early can be cured with surgery. Unfortunately, melanoma and fibrosarcoma are more aggressive, and may re-occur after surgery.
Recovery of Mouth Cancer in Dogs
Many dogs make a full recovery provided their owners follow the veterinarian’s instructions, which will vary based on the location of the tumor, the extent of the surgery and the type of cancer. In general, rest and close observation by the owner are the best recovery actions, in addition to the proper administration of any medication.
Mouth Cancer Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
I would just like to know if there is anything that would help with the foul breath that accompanies mouth cancer. I have already been to a dental vet, my vet and an emergency vet and just been pushed around. I will be seeing an Oncologist on Thursday.
Add a comment to Bane's experience
Was this experience helpful?
I have a Lab mix he is 9 years old. I noticed a lump on his gums over a year ago and thought maybe his tooth was just infected. It has gotten bigger still the same color though. He doesn't have any of the symptoms that it is cancer. He also has fatty tumors all over his body, could this be a benign tumor? I took him to the vet yesterday and the vet just took a look at it saying it looks like cancer and he wants to do surgery then at the end of the visit he said well this just might be a funny looking abscess.
There are many different tumours or growths that may occur in a dog’s mouth; these may be benign or malignant. Usually they are removed or biopsied prior to removal. Benign growths are removed due to the growth possibly comprising the consumption of food; if it is a “funny looking” abscess, drainage and treatment with antibiotics would be required. The next step would be to confirm the type of mass which would be by fine needle aspirate or biopsy, but usually surgical removal is recommended with Histopathology of the removed mass to confirm the diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
My pug now 12 years old just had a tumour removed from his mouth. But now after it he has weakened so much. Je refuses to eat or drink and is not able to stand up at all. What do i do?? He's being given glucose but other than that I want him to live longer and help him walk again because i see it in him. He wants that too! He hasn't given up!
Add a comment to Gunner's experience
Was this experience helpful?
My dog has a huge mass on the roof of his mouth. It also pushes out the side of his teeth; like meat hanging out. I only found it because he stunk really bad still after being groomed. The vet thought it was gum disease but missed the huge mass. She says it cannot be removed because of where it is. He is 10 years old and he doesn't act sick at all. What I'm reading pretty much says we can spend 12,000 dollars and there is very little chance he will be cured. We don't have 12,000 dollars. We are supposed to go in for a biopsy but I don't know if it's worth it to spend any money. We LOVE him and are DEVISTATED; living in grief everyday. I don't want him to die, but I also don't want to spend a bunch of money to have him die anyway.
Regardless of your decision to operate, it would still be beneficial to determine exactly what type of growth this is and if it is likely to spread. Oral growths can be tricky to treat and due to not being able to take adequate margins or the nature of the growth recurrence is common. Since the growth is so large that it is pushing out from the side of his teeth, it may start to affect his eating habits which can lead to other problems. The $12,000 is an upper ball park figure; I cannot promise you the price as numerous factors determine cost of treatment (type of growth, size, location of growth, level of invasiveness, follow up treatment, your location, your Veterinarian etc…). I would recommend getting the mass biopsied and then discussing treatment options and cost with your Veterinarian to determine the best solution for Kaitos. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
Add a comment to Kaitos's experience
Was this experience helpful?