Mouth cancer in dogs causes an immediate danger to their health. Growths can cause obstructions to the airways and can be very difficult to operate on.
Oral cancer in dogs that is benign is easier to treat as the disease does not spread to the dog's bones or other organs. Benign tumors are localized and limited to a particular area while malignant tumors metastasize and spread to organs in different areas of the body.
Mouth cancer in dogs prove to be very challenging for the vet to operate on, as they can be in parts of the mouth that are not easy to access and this can result in disfigurement of the dog.
Early detection is essential to the success of any veterinary treatment.
Lumps and overgrowth of gums
Bleeding from anywhere in the mouth
Sores and lesions
Difficulty in eating and swallowing
But these symptoms sometimes only appear after the disease has taken hold.
There are three types of mouth cancer that usually develops in dogs
1.Squamous cell carcinoma
Treatment for oral cancer in dogs generally involves Surgical excision, Cryosurgery, Radiation and Chemotherapy.
Dogs with malignant mouth cancer often have infected jaw bones. In this case often parts of the jaw must be surgically removed. Mouth cancer of soft tissue or fibrosarcoma, involves a serious surgical procedure.
If an attempt is made to remove the tumor cancerous cells can be left after the surgery, and radiation and chemotherapy are needed to eliminate the main roots of the tumor.
Squamous cell tumors have a good prognosis if they are found at the front of the mouth but tumors in the back of the mouth have a high risk of metastasis, and therefore have a poor prognosis.
Small tumors in a dog's mouth can be treated by cryosurgery. This is a procedure of applying extremely cold liquid nitrogen to small and accessible tumors. This procedure can also be used for treating residues left behind after surgery has taken place.
Aftercare is critical to allow for maximum benefits of the operation or treatment.
Dogs that have had this procedure should be fed only soft food until the incisions and wounds have healed, then the mouth should be flushed with clean water or an antiseptic solution.
Any toys that your dog usually chews on should be taken away for at least three weeks or until the healing is complete.
Heated packs should be applied three times a day for 10 minutes for as long as any swelling is seen.
If a metastasized tumor has been removed it is wise to follow up with regular chest X-rays
Any type of dog cancer is a traumatic experience for dog owners, and survival, in cases of malignant tumors, is usually limited to a couple of years even after surgery and good aftercare.
Look out for any signs of abnormal growths in your dog's mouth as early detection of mouth cancer in dogs can result in improving the chances of the survival and future health of your dog.
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