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What is Mouth Cancer?

Dogs are prone to many abnormal growths of the tissue inside the mouth and gums. Many of these are benign (not cancerous), although they should be removed to prevent further growth. However, malignant (cancerous) growths may also appear, and if not treated swiftly may spread throughout the body, causing fatal illness. Owners who notice any abnormal swelling or discoloration of their pet’s mouth should contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.Oral cancer is an abnormal growth of the tissues in the oral cavity, most commonly one of three malignant subtypes of tumor: melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and fibrosarcoma. Malignant tumors pose a serious threat to health and should be removed promptly, often in conjunction with radiation therapy.

Mouth Cancer Average Cost

From 8 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$12,000

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
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Causes of Mouth Cancer in Dogs

  • Exposure to carcinogens over lifespan
  • Inflammatory viral infections
  • Genetic predisposition
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Mouth Cancer Average Cost

From 8 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$12,000

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Mouth Cancer Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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muffin

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Shih Tzu

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12 Years

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Critical severity

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3 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Mouth Odor

My dog has mouth cancer, she is on medications and pain meds. Her mouth is deforming her teeth are hanging out of her mouth. My vet said when she stops eating is time for her to put her down. How long do they live with this type of mouth cancer? She is 12 years old shih Tzu.

June 12, 2018

muffin's Owner


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3 Recommendations

There are different types of oral tumours which grow (and spread) in different ways, this makes it very difficult to make any indication of a life expectancy; also the current progression of the tumour and the effects it currently has on eating and other activities will also play a part in judging life expectancy. I would say that you take each day as it comes, but your Veterinarian would be able to give you a better idea than me. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.acvs.org/small-animal/oral-tumors

June 13, 2018

Thank you very much on the answer. Its so hard see your dog face changing from the tumor.

June 13, 2018

muffin's Owner

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Bane

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Mastiff

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6 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Mouth Odor

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.

April 10, 2018

Bane's Owner

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1 Recommendations

Unfortunately there isn’t much that can be done, the smell can be bad but may arise due to the cancer itself, secondary infection, poor hygiene around the mass etc… I cannot think of anything which would help you in this situation. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 10, 2018

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Mouth Cancer Average Cost

From 8 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$12,000

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