Oral Tumors In Dogs: Understanding The Symptoms And Treatment Options

Oral Tumors In Dogs


As pet owners, we all want the best for our furry companions. Unfortunately, one of the health problems that dogs can face is the development of oral tumors.

These growths can range from benign to malignant and can cause significant discomfort and health issues for your pet if left untreated.

In this article, we will explore what oral tumors in dogs are, how they are diagnosed, and what treatment options are available.

What are Oral Tumors in Dogs?

Oral tumors in dogs are abnormal growths or masses that develop in the mouth. They can occur in any part of the mouth, including the gums, tongue, and inside cheeks.

Oral tumors can be benign or malignant, and they can have a significant impact on your dog’s health and quality of life.

Types of Oral Tumors in Dogs

There are several different types of oral tumors that can affect dogs, including:

Benign Tumors

Benign tumors are not cancerous, but they can still cause problems for your dog. The most common benign oral tumors in dogs include:

  • Fibromas
  • Papillomas
  • Osteomas
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Malignant Tumors

Malignant tumors are cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body. The most common malignant oral tumors in dogs include:

  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Fibrosarcoma

Symptoms of Oral Tumors in Dogs

The symptoms of oral tumors in dogs can vary depending on the type and location of the tumor. Common symptoms include:

  • Bad breath
  • Drooling
  • Pain or discomfort when eating or drinking
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Loose teeth
  • Swelling or lumps in the mouth or face
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Changes in vocalization or breathing patterns
  • Visible lumps or masses in the mouth

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible for a diagnosis.

Causes of Oral Tumors in Dogs

The exact cause of oral tumors in dogs is not yet known. However, several factors are thought to increase the risk of developing these types of tumors, including:

  • Breed: Certain breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Bulldogs, and Labrador Retrievers, are at an increased risk of developing oral tumors.
  • Exposure to environmental toxins: Dogs that are exposed to certain chemicals, such as tobacco smoke or certain pesticides, are at an increased risk of developing oral tumors.
  • Poor oral hygiene: Dogs with poor oral hygiene, such as those that have tartar buildup or gum disease, are at an increased risk of developing oral tumors.
  • Genetics: Some breeds of dogs, such as Boxers and Golden Retrievers, have a higher risk of developing oral tumors.
  • Infections: Certain infections, such as the canine oral papillomavirus, can increase the risk of developing oral tumors.
  • Age: Older dogs are more likely to develop oral tumors than younger dogs.
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Diagnosing Oral Tumors in Dogs

The process of diagnosing oral tumors in dogs typically begins with a physical examination of the mouth, followed by a biopsy of the suspicious tissue. A biopsy involves removing a small sample of the tumor and sending it to a laboratory for testing.

In some cases, additional tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, or ultrasounds, may also be performed to determine the size and location of the tumor. These tests can also help determine whether the tumor has spread to other parts of the body.

Prognosis for Dogs with Oral Tumors

The prognosis for dogs with oral tumors will depend on the type and severity of the tumor, as well as the dog’s age and overall health.

In general, dogs that receive prompt treatment and have access to the latest medical technologies have a better chance of recovery and a longer lifespan.

 Treatment Options for Oral Tumors in Dogs

The treatment options for oral tumors in dogs will depend on the type, size, and location of the tumor, as well as the overall health of your pet. Some of the most common treatment options include:

  • Surgery: Surgery is the most common treatment option for oral tumors in dogs. During surgery, the tumor is removed, and in some cases, surrounding tissue may also be removed to ensure that all of the cancerous cells have been removed.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is another option for treating oral tumors in dogs. This type of therapy uses high-energy beams to target and kill cancerous cells.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancerous cells. This type of treatment is often used in conjunction with surgery or radiation therapy to help prevent cancer from recurring.
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Prevention of Oral Tumors in Dogs

There is no surefire way to prevent oral tumors in dogs, but there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of your dog developing these tumors. Some of these steps include:

  • Regular dental check-ups: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help reduce the risk of oral tumors in dogs.
  • Avoid exposure to harmful substances: If possible, try to avoid exposing your dog to harmful substances, such as tobacco smoke and certain chemicals.
  • Good nutrition: Feeding your dog a well-balanced diet can help keep their mouth and overall health in good condition.


Oral tumors in dogs are a serious concern, but with the right treatment and care, many dogs can recover and go on to lead happy, healthy lives.

If you suspect that your dog may have an oral tumor, it is important to take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. With the right care, your dog can receive the treatment they need to overcome this challenging health issue.

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