Oral Tumours

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An Oral Tumour may be described as a swelling or lump in the oral areas that requires urgent investigation. It is often believed to be a benign swelling that may turn out to be a cyst cyst but caution should still be exercised as the oral area is the fourth most common area for cancers to occur. Early diagnosis and treatment is vital for achieving the best possible outcome. Oral Tumours can also cover non-healing wounds, ulcers or epulis. Epulis is a term used by vets for a lump on the gum. Further investigation including biopsy and specialist dental X-Rays may be required to reach a complete diagnosis. Without this requires diagnosis a plan for treatment cannot be put into place.

A tumour may be malignant or benign and only further investigation can determine this. The common tumour types are fibroma (benign), squamous cell carcinomas (malignant), melanomas (malignant), fibrosarcomas (malignant) and osteosarcomas (malignant). Acanthomatous epulis is more correctly known as an ameloblastoma and should be treated as a malignant tumour.


Symptoms can be hard to find for this condition, especially for smaller tumours. It is advised that pet owners should regularly check their animals for small unidentified lumps as the earlier these are found and checked, the better the outcome will likely be. If the tumour is largely progressed then it may be clearly visible without inspection, at this point it is absolutely vital that the animal is checked over immediately at a veterinary center.


Cancer's and other tumors do not have fully known causes. It is known that the cells are regarded as foreign bodies by the immune system so they are rejected and grow separately. It can be caused by slightly cell deformations that allow that cell to grow rapidly and spread out of control taking over supply of blood and oxygen for example leaving the vital organs with less. A full cause is not known but it is known that introducing your dog to carcinogenic objects can cause cancer. Also exposure to radiation and smoke can cause cancers in any part of the body on an animal. It can also be concluded that a bad diet or poor quality food for a pet can cause it due to foreign bodies being introduced (Chemicals in poor quality foods). Finally obesity can be a cause as the fat tissue sends out more hormones which can turn bad and then causes cancers to form, also the more fat tissue, the bigger the surface area and the more cells there are for a cancer to form in.


The most widely used treatment is immediate extraction of the tumour so it cannot grow any larger or spread causing a more deadly secondary cancer. However some cancers are inoperable, especially mouth cancers where where the risk may be greater, it is not possible to extract them so treatment like chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be given to the dog to try and kill the cancer. Unfortunately in many causes it may be too hard to remove the tumour and the focus may be on reducing the size of the cancer or preventing pain for the animal if the cancer is deemed terminal.


As lots of cancers and tumours are caused randomly it is hard to try and prevent them. It is known that some particles called carcinogens increase your risk greatly of cancers (These are the same for humans as they are for any animals). Although it may be hard to do so, you can reduce the risk of your pet getting an oral cancer by not introducing it particles such as dust or smokes. It is also widely advised that you do not use toxic lawn products or tick killers as they may find a way into the animal via inhalation or consumption and then may stay in the animals body as a foreign body (In the same way that asbestos stays in the lung forever after inhalation).

It has also been noted that bad oral hygiene in an animal may increase the risk slightly of the animal developing an oral cancer. So it can be advised that the animal receives good oral health. This can be done by giving the animal a diet that contains natural foods to protect the teeth or potentially giving the animal a supplement like a dental chew (Providing that the animal is a dog)to help clean the teeth and exercise the jaw to warn off bacteria.

Another useful thing is to closely examine the animals teeth on a frequent basis. This allows you to notice disease earlier on which means a more effective treatment, regular visits to veterinary centers for oral examinations will help also. Even something as simple as brushing your animals teeth a few times will greatly cut the risk.

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