Dog Mouth Tumor Treatment Options

Dog mouth tumors are common and may be benign or malignant. Depending on the type of the tumor and its stage of development, there are various types of treatment options. The type of dog mouth tumor may be detected by performing a biopsy.

Types of Dog Mouth Tumors

The dog mouth tumors may fall in 2 categories: benign or malignant. The benign tumors will not be life threatening and will typically not grow.

Malignant tumors can be aggressive and they will spread and affect the gums, teeth, bones, ligaments and then migrate towards the lymph nodes and metastasize in the lungs.

The malignant tumors may be of different types: melanomas, fibrosarcomas or squamous cell carcinomas.

All types of tumors can be felt as swellings or small nodules and some tumors may also be colored (i.e. melanomas). The tumors may ulcerate and the dog will have bad breath.

Symptoms of Canine Mouth Tumor

If the dog has a mouth tumor, you will notice a few signs such as drooling, bad breath, bleeding or ulceration of the tumor, swollen jaws or the refusal to eat. These symptoms may also occur when the dog has a dental problem, so the vet needs to take a closer look to determine the problem.

Treatment Options for Mouth Tumor

The mouth tumor should be biopsied. A small part of the tumor will be analyzed under microscope and the vet will establish if the tumor is benign or malignant. The vet will also determine the type of tumor, by observing the types of cells that make up the tumor.

The treatment options for canine mouth tumor include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and cryosurgery.

Tumor Excision Surgery

If the tumor is benign or malignant, but hasn’t spread to other areas of the mouth, the vet will recommend an excision surgery. The tumor will be fully removed and the vet will also remove a margin of neighboring tissue, to ensure that the entire tumor is removed.

In the case of benign tumors, the tumor should not grow back.

If the tumor is malignant, it may grow back. 


Chemotherapy is the most common treatment option for canine mouth tumors that are malignant. Even if the tumor has been removed, the dog should receive chemotherapy drugs, as these will stop the cancerous cells from forming and multiplying.

If the tumor is inoperable and it has also spread to other areas of the body, the chemotherapy will slow down the formation of cancerous cells.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy will not stop the cancerous cells from multiplying, but will help relieve the pain, which is difficult to bear, especially when the cancer is in metastasis.

Typically, radiation therapy is used in addition to a different type of therapy (i.e. chemotherapy).


The cryosurgery is a relatively new technique that will freeze the tumor; this procedure should stop the malignant cells from developing and spreading further to other areas of the body.