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What is Tumors of the Gums (Epulis)?

Epulis tumors are tumors located in the gum tissue near the canine’s teeth. Also known as gum boils, they originate in the tissue that connects the teeth to the bone of the jaw. Epulis tumors are generally benign, but some varieties are prone to invading nearby tissues and require removal of the growth and the surrounding tissue. This can sometimes include the removal of all or part of the jawbone. There are three generally recognized types of epulis; fibromatous, ossifying and acanthomatous.

Epulis are benign growths that originate in the tissue that connects the teeth of the dog to its jawbone. There are three types of epulis; fibromatous, ossifying and acanthomatous.

Tumors of the Gums (Epulis) Average Cost

From 44 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$12,000

Symptoms of Tumors of the Gums (Epulis) in Dogs

The growth that forms between the dog’s teeth is generally firm, similar in color to the gums and smooth. Some epulides will present with a peduncle attaching it to the gum. 

  • Bleeding from mass
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Displaced teeth
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pink, raised growth
  • Reduced activity level
  • Swelling of jaw bones
  • Tooth loss
  • Unusually bad breath
  • Weight loss 

Types

Fibromatous

- Growth of tough, fibrous tissue usually located at the margin of the gum, generally smooth and pink, without ulcerations; this is the least likely to require additional treatments such as cryosurgery or chemotherapy

Ossifying

- Nonulcerated smooth, pink growth that contains bone cells; this type of epulis is more likely to require radical surgery or to become cancerous 

Acanthomatous

- Tumor that originates from the periodontal ligament that holds the root of the tooth in the bone; these cancers are usually found in the front portion of the lower jaw and can be either ulcerated or non-ulcerated; these growths are considered benign but can prove to be locally invasive, so treatment is usually more aggressive

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Causes of Tumors of the Gums (Epulis) in Dogs

Although these are one of the more common growths that can be found in a canine’s mouth, the cause or causes of epulides have eluded scientists to this point. Most epulis tumors develop in dogs older than six years old, and Boxers seem to be slightly predisposed to developing these growths.

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Diagnosis of Tumors of the Gums (Epulis) in Dogs

The veterinarian will first want to acquire your dog’s complete health history. A complete blood count, blood chemistry profile, and urinalysis will also be performed to evaluate the overall health of the patient. A sample of the tumor will be taken, usually by incisional biopsy, and a dental x-ray will also be done to reveal dental changes or invasion into the jaw bone itself. X-rays of the chest area may also be done if the veterinarian is concerned about the spread of the cancer to remote locations such as the lung. An MRI may be employed to assess the size of the mass and whether or not it has invaded nearby structures and a CT scan may give a clearer picture of calcification or erosion of the outer layer (cortex) of the bones that have been affected.  The biopsy of the tissue sample will determine if it is indeed an epulis, and which type of epulis it is.

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Treatment of Tumors of the Gums (Epulis) in Dogs

Benign tumors such as epulis, as well as a portion of the surrounding tissue, will generally be excised to avoid further spread into surrounding tissues. With ossifying and acanthomatous epulis there is a likelihood of the jaw being involved. If this is the case, part or all of that portion of the jaw may need to be surgically removed. The excision of all or part of the jaw is referred to as a maxillectomy if it affects the top of the jaw or mandibulectomy if the bottom of the jaw is involved. With ossifying epulis cryosurgery may be employed as well to help ensure that all of the abnormal tissues are fully removed. Cryosurgery is the application of extreme cold to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue. As the acanthomatous variety of epulis can be known to become very invasive to surrounding tissues it considered a cancerous growth and its treatment is often more aggressive, involving radiation and possibly chemotherapeutic agents.

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Recovery of Tumors of the Gums (Epulis) in Dogs

After any surgical excision, it is essential to keep the site clean and make sure to remove dirt and debris. You will need to examine the site regularly for swelling, bleeding or pus, and keep your dog from interfering with it. Keeping the recovering patient in a calm and quiet environment will help speed healing, as will having appropriate food and water within easy reach.  Specialized feeding and care instructions may be given by your veterinarian to facilitate healing. If a mandibulectomy or maxillectomy was performed due to invasion of the growth into the bone, then your dog may have a protruding tongue where the bone was removed until they get used to retracting their tongue on their own. You may also observe an increase in salivation and clicking noises that occur when your dog chews. There may also be a visible narrowing or drooping of the nose due to the removal of the upper jaw bone.

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Tumors of the Gums (Epulis) Average Cost

From 44 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$12,000

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Tumors of the Gums (Epulis) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Nala

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Cane Corso Italiano (Italian Mastiff)

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Small Bump On Canine Tooth

My Cane Corso had and Epulis removed from her canine tooth a year ago by her vet and it is coming back. Should I see a specialist for this instead of her vet, and if so , what type of specialist should I see?

Aug. 31, 2018

Nala's Owner

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Timmy

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jack russell mix

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

None

Can a Vet take off an Epulis or should a Vet dentist? I want my Vet to take my dogs Epulis off but I am concerned he won't get all the root and it will grow back. My Vet is going to excise it flush with gum and biopsy it.

Aug. 11, 2018

Timmy's Owner

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0 Recommendations

A general practicing Veterinarian should have no issues removing an epulis from the gum of a dog; however if you have concerns you should speak with your Veterinarian and request a Specialist if it makes you more comfortable. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 11, 2018

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Diesel

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English Bulldog

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My dog has a growth on his gums which the vet was not concerned about. Vet stated he would suggest having it removed if he needed any other procedures. This was several months ago. Yesterday I noticed it has grown and the color has changed to a grayish black color. He plays normal, eats and drinks but he has been throwing up almost daily at least 1x. I am very concerned and the vet cannot see him until Tuesday.

May 25, 2018

Diesel's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Sometimes Veterinarians will take a wait and see approach to some masses found especially in younger animals; however when there is a sudden change in size or colour it should always be reexamined to determine whether or not surgical intervention is required especially if it will cause difficulty whilst eating due to the location. You should try to call the veterinary clinic to see if they have any cancellation appointments but should be alright until Tuesday unless anything else changes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 26, 2018

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Beaches

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Imperial shih tzu

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Licking

My vet saw my 9 yr old Shih Tzu today and thought she had a epulis but she’ll know more when my dog gets her teach cleaned in a week and can look at it closer. What does that mean? My dog had cataract surgery last year so whatever is wrong needs to fixed when she’s under anesthesia for her teeth cleaning am I right? I’m so scares

May 16, 2018

Beaches' Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Epulis is a benign growth of the gum, and may need to be removed under anesthesia, yes. If Beaches has Epulis, your veterinarian will be able to assess it during her dental cleaning and take care of it as needed. That is not a terrible thing to have, typically.

May 16, 2018

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Besa

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

15 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing
Bloody Nose

15 year old black lab has a black and pink mass growing from upper gum. 3 weeks ago it was just a bump on her gum, vet thought it was an abscess so we had broken carnissial tooth removed. They did a biopsy of the mass and it came back benign. Now mass is large and bleeds intermittently, could this be a epulis?

March 30, 2018

Besa's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Epulides (plural) are benign tumours that arise from the periodontal ligament, it is possible that this growth is an epulis but you should discuss this with your Veterinarian as they have examined Besa and have a full histopathology report for her and will be able to guide you better. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 30, 2018

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Chips

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Miniature Schnauzer

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Eating Less
Sleepiness
Low Energy

Got 6 teeth removed 6 months ago. A few weeks ago went to the veterinarian to get a mass checked up, which the vet thought could be just an abscess from the teeth removal. During the surgery, multiple masses were discovered in the mouth, vet removed as much as she could, cauterized any bleeding. First few days were pretty good, but now, 2 weeks later, it’s gotten worse. Chips is very sleepy, saliva comes out through the mouth sides, he keeps chewing for no reason, also has bad breath. But he doesn’t let to check his mouth, because it hurts. Eats soft foods, digestion is good. Also, likes to be alone more, rather than sleeping on the sofa next to us.

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Scrubby

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Parson Jack Russell

dog-age-icon

19 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Flap Tumor 1/2 Inch By Canine Tooth

My 19 year old Parson Russell terrier has a growth/tumor on his upper gum near the canine tooth that presents as a flap reaching down to his tooth. He is in reasonably good health for his age and remains alert and active despite having limited vision and hearing. He has been picky about eating, but will happily eat people food such as chicken, pizza crusts, or oatmeal. My vet examined it and felt it was nonthreatening and said to keep an eye on it and be sure no food gets trapped under it. Said it could be removed, but would have to be done under anesthesia, a risk at his age. He does have all his teeth.

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Freddie

dog-breed-icon

Pomeranian

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Gum Swelling

My dog was diagnosed with having an epulis on his gums and had it removed. The gums are now swollen and pink. I’m not sure if it is growing back again or if it is just the gym healing. Can an epulis grow back immediately after removal?

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Molly

dog-breed-icon

Jack Russell Terrier

dog-age-icon

11 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Panting
Low Energy

My 11 year old jack russell has a little pink lump hanging down between her canine and front teeth and has bad breath and abit of a reduction in activity also panting quite alot should i be concerned

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Stoner

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Silky Terrier

dog-age-icon

11 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination
Thirsty
Less Interested In Eating

I took my dog to the vet for a growth I noticed on his gums. It's the same pink color of his gums. My vet said it was Epulis nothing to worry about after further eval he noticed his lymph nodes were enlarged and took a sample of the lymph nodes to send to the lab to check for cancer. can this be related to the Epulis?

Tumors of the Gums (Epulis) Average Cost

From 44 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $15,000

Average Cost

$12,000

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