ORAL TUMORS IN CANINE AND FELINE PATIENTS

WHICH ARE THE MOST COMMON ORAL TUMORS IN DOGS AND CATS?

Most of the oral tumors in dogs and cats are malignant, however benign tumor also exist.  The malignant tumors include squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, fibrosarcoma. Regarding benign oral tumors epulis and fibromas are the most common.

IS SURGERY INDICATED FOR ORAL TUMORS?

The best treatment option for oral tumors is surgery, due to its curative intent. There are different types of surgical approaches, which include mandibulectomy (removal of the lower jaw) and maxillectomy (removal of the upper jaw). The post-surgical outcome is determined by the nature (benign versus malignant), the size, and location of the tumor.  The goal of the surgery is to remove the tumor completely with clean margins.

WHAT ARE OTHER TREATMENT MODALITIES FOR ORAL TUMORS?

Surgery is the main treatment; however, radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy are considered valuable options with or without surgery.

HOW DO I KNOW THAT MY DOG OR CAT HAS ORAL CANCER?

Most often patient with oral tumors have bloody saliva with malodorous breath, visible tumor in the oral cavity, increased salivation, reluctance to eat, and difficulty in opening the mouth. To better determine the nature of the tumor and its prognosis, biopsy of the abnormal tissue should be obtained. Advanced imaging such as CT scan of the skull, neck and chest can also be used to determine the extent of the tumor and to evaluate for metastatic disease.

WHAT IS THE PROGNOSIS WITH ORAL TUMORS?

The prognosis for cats and dogs with oral tumors is dictated by the stage of the tumor and its complete removal. Patients with the best outcome have tumors located in the front part of the jaw and the tumor has been removed completely. The cosmetic consequences as result of oral surgery is minimal and owners should not be discouraged because of their pet post-operative appearance.