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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Growths in the mouth




Condition Overview

Mouth tumors account for about 8% of all cancers seen in dogs. They can become raw and very sore, then ulcerate and drain. You may not notice the problem until your dog develops a bad mouth odor.


These tumors appear as growths on a flap of tissue. There are often multiple growths. Dogs with oral tumors may drool, have trouble eating, and/or have a very foul odor to their breath. The drool may be bloody.


These benign tumors grow from the peridontal membrane in response to gum inflammation.


Malignant tumors in the mouth are rare. In order of frequency, they include melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and fibrosarcoma. These tumors tend to occur in older dogs. Biopsy is required to make an exact diagnosis.


Early, aggressive treatment of mouth tumors, with wide local excision and/or radiation therapy offers the best chance for a cure. Surgery may involve removing part of the upper or lower jaw.

In many cases, the tumor is already too far advanced for treatment. The prognosis is best for squamous cell carcinomas. 50% of treated dogs survive a year or longer.


There is no prevention for this condition, although some studies suggest a lifetime of antioxidant consumption will reduce the instance of cancer in humans and animals. High quality specialty foods usually contain antioxidants, while low quality brands do not.


Please contact your veterinarian for more information on this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The First Aid Companion for Dogs And Cats

Publisher: Rodale Inc, 2001

Website: http://www.rodalebooks.com/

Authors: Amy D. Shojai, Shane Bateman DVM

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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