Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer in Dogs

Updated March 23, 2017

Oral cancer is a life-threatening disease which generally manifests itself visually. Thus, an aware pet owner can observe a number of signs and symptoms and initiate treatment more quickly. The cause of oral cancer is generally unknown, but thought to stem from a pet's tendency to taste anything. Since cancer is not easily preventable, it is crucial to recognise signs and symptoms as early as possible.

Lumps in Mouth

Visible lumps inside your pet's mouth are one sign of cancer. You must have your pet promptly examined whenever you notice unusual growths. It is possible they are benign, but they also could be tumorous and quickly spread to the throat. Thus, act quickly at first sight of growths.

Oral Discharge

Occasional mouth trauma is understandable, since pets can pick up hardened or sharp foreign objects. However, regular bleeding or discomfort is a sign of oral cancer. Growths in the mouth can and will affect the gums, leading to irritation, tooth loss and continual, accelerated bleeding. Drooling is also a sign. However, since certain breeds are prone to drooling, discerning the difference will require extra vigilance for some owners.

Eating/Chewing Issues

Take your dog for an exam when you see any mealtime changes in behaviour. Growths will alter chewing ability, causing pain and possible difficulty swallowing. Again, close monitoring of behaviour will facilitate rapid detection.

Bad Breath

A dog's breath is not always pleasant, but if you notice yours is worse than usual, then arrange an examination. Oral growths and digestion issues can be the culprits. Food can become trapped behind the growths, whether in the mouth or throat, allowing bacteria to grow profusely.

bibliography-icon icon for annotation tool Cite this Article

About the Author

Dee Taylor is a Virginia writer and editor, based near the Washington, DC area. She has 10 years experience in journalism and publishing, having worked for the Gannett Co., Inc., and the National Academy of Sciences. She holds a BA in Political Science, and a MS in Publishing.