Oral cancer and growths in both cats and dogs are unfortunately common. There are many kinds of oral growths that can range from benign or non-cancerous to malignant and invasive tumors. Our veterinary dental specialists have years of experience with pet cancer surgery and surgical removal of both benign and cancerous, canine and feline oral growths.
These tumors may be discovered at home by the pet’s owner especially if they routinely brush their pet’s teeth or your regular veterinarian may see one during a routine exam. All oral growths, small or large, should be evaluated by a veterinarian. Do not hesitate to contact one of the specialists at the Animal Dental Center if you see or suspect an oral tumor in your pet.
It is important to determine what kind of tumor is growing in your pet’s mouth. It is impossible for anyone to simply look at or touch an oral tumor and provide a diagnosis, prognosis or an appropriate treatment plan. We may take a small sample (incisional biopsy) or remove the bulk of the tumor and surrounding tissue (excisional biopsy). The sample is then submitted for analysis by a histopathologist to identify the type of tumor your pet has. Once we know the type, we are able to better predict how the tumor will likely behave in the mouth and recommend the best treatment options to you. The diagnosis may eliminate your initial worry and fear! In many cases we can and do successfully treat facial swellings that are oral cysts or benign tissue growths that initially appeared very bad.
Staging of your pet’s oral tumor involves evaluating the extent of the tumor’s local involvement, and whether the tumor cells have spread to distant areas. Dental radiographs can give us an indication of how invasive the primary growth is and help us determine margins for complete removal. Blood tests, chest radiographs, lymph node evaluation and advanced imaging such as computed tomography (CT) may be used. Staging is useful in establishing the prognosis and planning additional treatment. It can provide clues as to what you might expect with the disease. Dental radiographs are performed in every case and they are extremely helpful in determining the level of invasiveness of the tumor.
Prognosis & Outcome
The prognosis is determined through consideration of the tumor type, size, location and staging. Invasive and malignant tumors sometimes require complete removal of the affected bone. Despite this these surgeries can still be very successful and result in minimal cosmetic changes for the pet patient. The outcome usually depends on the size and location of the tumor.
Treatment Options for Oral Tumors in Dogs & Cats
Oral pet cancer surgery is usually the first line treatment option for oral tumors when diagnosed early. Surgery offers the greatest potential to completely eliminate or cure the tumor.
Medical therapy (chemotherapy), radiation therapy and immunotherapy are ancillary treatment options. A combination of these treatments, usually after surgery is performed will produce the best results.