Dog’s Oral Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment

Oral cancers in canines are relatively common. Benign and malignant oral cancer makes up around 6% of all tumor cases in dogs. The sad news is that most are malignant in oral tumors.

The oral cavity is not just your canine’s teeth and gums. It also consists of lips, the roof of the mouth, upper and lower jaw, tongue, cheeks, and floor of the mouth. In malignant cases, it may affect not just the oral cavity but also other organs. Continue reading and learn more about oral cancers in canines.

How to Look for Signs of Oral Tumor

There are no conclusive reasons for oral cancers in dogs; early detection is necessary for effective treatment. Frequently brushing your dog’s teeth will keep their teeth and gum tissues healthy, and you will be familiar with your dog’s mouth. So that when you notice something different such as foul breath, gingivitis, or any lumps, you’ll know that these could be early indications of cancer.

Oral cancers come in many forms; clinical indications largely depend on location, size, and metastasis. Oral pain usually is noticeable, particularly in dogs with tumors that extend into the tissues and underlying bones.

Annual dental exams from reputable animal clinics are essential. During professional dog dental care, your dog will be sedated to ensure that the vet dentist can probe deeper into your dog’s mouth, looking for any signs of a tumor.

How is an oral tumor diagnosed?

Fine needle aspiration (FNA) might be used to diagnose an oral tumor accurately. FNA involves using a small needle with a syringe and suctioning a sample specimen. A pathologist will then examine the sample cells. A biopsy may be needed if the FNA results are not very clear. A biopsy is a surgical excision of a piece of the tumor, and then a pathologist will analyze the specimen under a microscopic lens.

How is oral tumor treated?


The primary treatment endorsement for the oral tumor is surgery. The goal of any surgical procedure is to remove tumors. However, before opting for invasive vet surgery, complete proper staging first from a trusted facility like Animal Hospital of North Asheville. A CT scan will show how the condition advances; the surgeon needs to have advanced imaging of the area affected.


Radiation therapy might follow after the operation. However, a pet oncologist would likewise suggest radiation if surgery is not an option. This treatment is perfect for tumors with a low chance of metastasis (spread of tumors to other organs).

A Quick Rundown

Benign oral tumors typically progress gradually; on the other side, malignant tumors progress quickly. Others may metastasize (spread to different organs) aggressively, affecting soft tissues, tooth roots, and bones. It all depends upon the type of tumors; some metastasis can be as high as 80%.

Complete staging or searching for the potential spread to other body parts is required for malignant oral tumors. Staging may consist of bloodwork, FNA, lung x-ray, and abdominal ultrasound.

As a pet owner, be proactive with your dog’s dental care. Excellent oral health signifies lower risks of developing oral cancers for your furry friend.