Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer in Dogs

Written by dee taylor
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  • Introduction

    Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer in Dogs

    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.

    Be vigilant of your pet's health because changes can occur quickly. (dog image by Krzysztof Gebarowski from

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    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.

    Pet owners should have any new growths examined upon discovery. (Yawning Dog image by KateC from

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    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.

    The bulldog is one breed that tends to drool profusely. (Bulldog de profil image by Olivier from

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    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.

    Changes in a dog's appetite could be a sign of oral cancer. (Dog with Treat image by T^i^ from

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    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.

    Dog treats can aid in dental health, but if you notice issues, contact your veterinarian. (dog biscuits image by Greg Pickens from

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