Strange Growths in Your Dog’s Mouth Could Warrant Concern
If your dog has a mass growing in her mouth, it may or may not be cancerous. In this guide, we’ll share with you the signs and symptoms of oral masses, how veterinarians determine whether or not they’re cancerous, and how they are treated so you can get your pet the treatment she needs to recover.
Oral masses are those that develop on a dog’s gums (epulides), lips, tongue, or in the lymph regions around the mouth. While not all growths are cancerous, getting your pet evaluated and treated as soon as possible is important, regardless.
When Growths Develop in Dog’s Mouths
Oral growths can develop in any age or breed of dog, but older male dogs and those with dark pigmented mucosa are diagnosed more frequently than younger dogs or their female counterparts. Some breeds are more at risk for congenital reasons. An example of this is the Boxer, which is most at risk for developing fibromatous masses on the gums. Other high-risk breeds include Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Weimaraners, St. Bernards, and Pointers.
Dogs can suffer from a range of different oral masses and they can be cancerous or non-cancerous. Cancerous forms include malignant melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, fibrosarcoma, and acanthomatous ameloblastoma. Benign growths include fibromas, osteomas, odontomas, and granulomas.
Causes of Oral Growth Development
The cause of a dog’s oral mass can also vary. Quite often periodontal disease or damaged salivary glands are to blame for non-cancerous growths. Oral masses have also been linked to the use of flea collars. But, it is important to note that a non-cancerous mass can become malignant if it is not treated early enough.
Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For
If you think your dog might be suffering from an oral growth, you may start to notice several tell-tale signs. Here is a checklist that you can use to monitor your dog so your veterinarian will have the most comprehensive information at their disposal when treating her.
Simply check the box beside the symptom if you have observed it in your dog:
- Swelling in the mouth area
- Reluctance to eat or chew
- Sores in the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
Diagnosing Growths in Your Dog’s Mouth: A Visit to the Vet
Once you’ve completed the above checklist, print it out and take it to your veterinarian so you can discuss your dog’s health with the vet. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination and a series of lab tests, including a complete blood count. A biopsy of the mass will also be taken for microscopic evaluation. An x-ray will also be performed to make sure other parts of the body have not been affected.
In the majority of cases, surgery is the recommended treatment for an oral mass. In cases where the tumor is cancerous, then the dog will also undergo radiation and chemotherapy treatment to help increase her chances of survival.
If your dog is diagnosed with a cancerous or non-cancerous growth in the mouth and your veterinarian prescribes one or more medications for your pet, you can receive a free quote for your pet’s medications from Diamondback Drugs. We can help you save money on all of your pet medications.
As always, be sure to inform your veterinarian about any medications or supplements your dog is currently taking so your vet can make the best treatment decision for your pet’s unique case and help reduce the risk of a potential drug interaction.
Author: Giano Panzarella