Dog Mouth Cancer Symtoms

Dog tumors can be located in different areas of the body, including the mouth. Not all tumors are cancerous; however, dog mouth cancer is a common type of canine cancer. The cancer can be detected only by performing tests; however, some symptoms that can point to mouth cancer should not be ignored.

Dog Mouth Tumors

Mouth tumors may be benign or malignant. The tumors may be located in the gum area, on the periodontal ligament or near the bones.

The tumors may be felt like unusual growths. Typically the benign tumors will not get larger and have defined edges. These tumors will not cause any health risks.

The malignant tumors are cancerous and will metastasize to the bone and other areas of the body. An early detection of mouth tumors can be critical in increasing the dog’s survival chances.

How Mouth Tumors Look Like

The malignant tumors in dogs may be melanomas, squamous cell carcinomas or fibrosarcomas.

Melanomas are more common in canines and typically appear as dark colored bumps in the mouth. Melanomas spread quickly and will affect the gums, the bones, lymph nodes and even the lungs in more advanced stages.

Squamous cell carcinomas can also be felt as lumps, but they won’t be colored. These carcinomas will spread at a lower rate than melanomas.

Fibrosarcomas will look like red lumps and may often ulcerate.

Dog Mouth Cancer Symptoms

The mouth cancer in dogs will present several symptoms; in addition to detecting the tumor in the dog’s mouth, you should also look out for the following signs:

  • Halitosis or bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Mouth bleeding; the tumor may bleed
  • Swollen jaws or gums; if the tumor affects the gums or the jaws, these may get swollen
  • Lack of appetite or refusal to eat, as the tumor may cause pain when swallowing
  • Chewing only on one side of the mouth; this should indicate the location of the tumor

These symptoms may also occur when the dog is affected by a periodontal disease or has a dental abscess, so a thorough oral examination is necessary. The vet will also perform a biopsy on the tumor, to be able to see if it is cancerous.

The symptoms alone are not enough for a clear diagnosis of mouth cancer.

Causes of Mouth Cancer

The exact causes of mouth cancer haven’t been determined yet. According to some theories, the mouth cancer may be caused by the inhalation of cancerous substances; other theories suggest a link between mouth cancer and foods with artificial preservatives.

Treatment of Mouth Cancer

The treatment of the mouth cancer will depend on the type of the tumor and the stage of the cancer. The treatment options vary from surgery, chemotherapy or cryosurgery (the tumor gets frozen) to homeopathic remedies.

If detected early, mouth cancer may be prevented from metastasizing.

In some cases, when the cancer is advanced, the vet will only recommend radiation therapy, which will relieve the pain.