Mouth cancer in dogs

Updated May 30, 2018

Cancer is a common ailment in dogs. The only way to tell for certain if a mass in a dog's mouth is benign or cancerous is to take the animal to a veterinarian. Blood tests and X-rays can tell a vet if the growth is cancerous. Mouth cancer can be invasive and painful, so it is important to seek treatment right away for any oral tumours or problems.


Mouth cancer is the fourth most common cancer in dogs, accounting for 6 per cent of dog cancers.


Mouth tumours in dogs can become large enough to cause esophageal blockage, so it is important to monitor the size of any tumours.


The cause of mouth cancer in dogs is not known. Some veterinarians believe that dogs may inhale carcinogens throughout their life when using their sense of smell to gather information about their environment. The likelihood of developing cancer increases with age.


Mouth cancer symptoms may include oral bleeding, trouble chewing and swallowing, sores and bumps in the mouth, and mouth pain.


In some cases the tumour can be surgically removed. This may require removal of portions of the jaw none as well, depending on the type and location of the tumour. Localised radiation and cryosurgery are also used to treat mouth cancer.

Interesting Fact

A dog is more likely to develop mouth cancer if it has dark oral pigmentation.

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About the Author

Writing professionally since 2008, Michelle Miley specializes in home and garden topics but frequently pens career, style and marketing pieces. Her essays have been used on college entrance exams and she has more than 4,000 publishing credits. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in accounting, having graduated summa cum laude.