Have You Noticed a Growth in Your Cat’s Mouth Recently?
Any time a cat owner notices a mass growing in their pet’s mouth, their first worry is almost always that it will end up being diagnosed as cancer. But, not all oral growths in animals’ mouths are cancerous. There is actually a variety of reasons why a cat might develop a growth in her mouth.
This guide will help you learn more about cancerous and non-cancerous growths that can develop in a cat’s mouth, how they are diagnosed, and how they’re treated.
Where Do Oral Masses Usually Develop in Cats?
In veterinary medicine, an oral mass is the term used to describe a growth in a cat’s mouth, or on the surrounding surface of the head region. Most commonly, these growths are found on a cat’s tongue, lips, gums, and in the lymph nodes around the mouth.
What Causes Oral Tumors in Cats?
Oral masses can form in any age or breed of cat, but older cats and male cats seem to be slightly more prone to getting them. Since it is almost impossible to determine the exact cause for why a cat might develop a growth in her mouth, veterinarians will usually investigate the presence of certain risk factors in the cat’s health and environment.
Such factors can include pre-existing tooth and gum disease, exposure to secondhand smoke, and the use of flea collars.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Growths in Cats
Whether an oral mass is cancerous or not, the signs and symptoms will be very similar. Both types of tumors cause the following symptoms:
- Sores in the mouth (bleeding or non-bleeding)
- Loose or lost teeth
- Excessive drooling
- Reluctance to eat / loss of appetite
- Bad breath
How Is a Cancerous Oral Tumor in a Cat Diagnosed?
In order for the veterinarian to determine whether or not an oral mass is cancerous, a biopsy will need to be performed. If the biopsy shows that the mass is malignant (cancerous), then a second biopsy of the surrounding lymph nodes will also be performed to find out if the cancer in the cat has metastasized.
X-rays may also be needed to determine which, if any, other parts of the body might be affected.
Treatment Options for Cancerous and Non-Cancerous Growths in a Cat’s Mouth
If the tumor is benign, then it will be surgically removed. If the tumor is malignant, then treatment will be determined by the stage of the cancer and whether or not it has spread to other parts of the body.
If the cancer is localized, then the tumor will be surgically removed, but if it has spread, then the removal of the tumor will be combined with radiation and chemotherapy to help improve the cat’s prognosis.
How to Prevent Oral Growths in Cats
While cancer in some pets can’t be completely prevented, there are some things you can do to help reduce your cat’s risk of developing a malignant oral tumor. These include not using a flea collar, not smoking around your pet, and taking her to the vet as soon as you discover her mouth to be inflamed or developing a sore.
If your cat is diagnosed with an oral mass and your vet prescribes post-surgical medications such as an anti-inflammatory or antibiotic for your pet, you can receive a free quote for the medications from Diamondback Drugs. Give us a try today – we can help you save money on all of your cat’s medications.
Author: Giano Panzarella