How Long Can dogs live with oral cancer? Tips and Tricks

What are the most common symptoms of mouth cancer in dogs?

In dogs, the most common signs of oral cancer include: bad breath, excessive drooling, bleeding from the mouth, trouble chewing, obvious signs of oral pain, loose teeth, visible lump or mass inside of the mouth, swollen areas of the face, reluctance to eat and weight loss.

How Will the Vet Treat Mouth Cancer? (and How Effective Are the Treatments)

After a dog has been diagnosed with mouth cancer, treatment will be dependent on the type of cancer diagnosed, location, and evidence of metastasis. A veterinarian will most often achieve a diagnosis with a biopsy either by performing a fine needle aspirate of the mass or a biopsy of the affected area.

Once a diagnosis of cancer is made, staging should be performed with x-rays taken of the chest and sampling of the regional lymph nodes to rule out the spread of cancer. Oral melanomas come with the highest rate of pulmonary metastatic disease but metastasis has also been noted with squamous cell carcinoma.

A CT may be recommended to guide the next steps of how to address the tumor and also to guide surgical planning.

Surgery is recommended to treat most oral tumors. Surgery is often performed by a veterinary specialist such as a dentist or surgeon. The goal of surgery will be to try to remove as much of the tumor as safely as possible. This may mean removing associated teeth and even jaw bone if there is a bony invasion. If there is evidence of spread to local lymph nodes, these will likely be removed as well. Surgical removal may be curative.

If complete removal is not feasible, radiation therapy can be considered an alternative treatment. Chemotherapy may be recommended after surgery depending on the type of cancer.

What is Mouth Cancer in Dogs?

A mouth cancer in dogs is a cancer that develops due to abnormal growth of the cells in the mouth.

The dog’s mouth has different types of cells (skin, bone, fibrous) and tissues (hard and soft tissues) and they can all start proliferating without control, grow into cancer cells, and invade the surrounding tissue.

Some types of cancer in the mouth (oral cancers) grow slowly and without spreading (benign tumors), while others have rapid growth and ability to spread to other parts of the body (malignant tumors).

The most common types of oral cancer in dogs are oral melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, ameloblastoma, and oral sarcoma. Out of these, the most common oral tumor in dogs is melanoma.

Mouth cancer in dogs is relatively common type of cancer. According to MedVet, mouth tumors account for 6% of all canine cancer in dogs.

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