Dog Mouth Cancer

Dog mouth cancer is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. It is a fairly common form of cancer, affecting older dogs primarily. However, dog mouth cancer has been diagnosed in dogs of all breeds, ages and prior health conditions. Recognizing the warning signs of canine mouth cancer is the first step toward properly diagnosing and treating the condition. Because canine mouth cancer has the potential to metastasize and spread to other parts of the body, the earlier that you and your veterinarian are able to detect and treat the disease, the greater the chance that your pet will be able to retain his health and way of life. Continue reading for a brief overview of the causes, symptoms and treatments available for canine mouth cancer.

There are two primary types of canine mouth tumors. Benign tumors can present problems to your dog's overall health, particularly if they affect his chewing, swallowing or breathing. Benign tumors do not spread to other parts of your pet's body. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, tend to grow quickly and may metastasize to other parts of your dog's body. Malignant tumors tend to be the most dangerous to your pet's overall health.

Causes of Canine Mouth Cancer

The causes of canine mouth cancer are not well known. As with other cancers, carcinogens in the atmosphere and in your pet's environment might contribute to the development of cancerous growths. Ongoing studies serve to determine potentially carcinogenic chemicals that exist in pet foods. As these chemicals are discovered, potentially dangerous foods and ingredients are banned. Consult with your veterinarian for recommendations of healthy foods.

Symptoms of Canine Mouth Cancer

Canine mouth cancers can grow quickly or slowly, but early detection is the key to successful treatment and ensuring that your pet stays healthy. Watch for the following signs of canine mouth cancer in your pet:

  • Unusual growths or tumors in or around the mouth
  • Bleeding and discharge from the mouth and gums
  • Difficulty eating and chewing
  • Sores and lesions in and around the mouth
  • Signs of pain in the mouth

Check your pet’s mouth periodically for signs of canine mouth cancer. A good time to do this is while bathing your dog or brushing his teeth. If you notice any unusual signs, or any of the symptoms listed above, take your dog to a vet for an examination immediately.

Treating Canine Mouth Cancer

If your veterinarian diagnoses your dog with mouth cancer, it is important to be aware of the various treatment methods for the disease. In many cases, surgical extraction of any cancerous cells can be sufficient to excise the growth. However, cryosurgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy might be necessary in advanced cases, and particularly if the cancer has spread to other body parts.

Keep a vigilant watch over your pet for signs of mouth cancer. If you detect any suspicious behaviors or growths, have your dog examined as soon as possible. This will help to ensure that he gets a prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment.