Oral masses can be anything from benign extra gum tissue to more scary oral cancers. Although sometimes the shape, size and location of oral masses can give us a hint of what kind of mass is present, benign and malignant oral masses can masquerade as each other and even look identical.
Depending on the nature of the mass and previous tests performed, further diagnostics may be necessary to better characterize the growth. In other cases, your veterinarian may recommend going directly to surgery.
Once the type of growth has been identified, we can provide you with the treatment recommendations. Often treatment will involve some type of surgery. Depending on the origin of the cells and tissue involved, some masses can be simply removed.
Some tumor types are known to project microscopic projections into the surrounding tissues. In these cases, we may recommend a wide or “radical” excision meaning we remove the mass with some of the normal neighboring tissue.
It is important to know that although to us, removing part of our jaw may be devastating both emotionally and physically, we can learn a lesson from our canine companions. These patients quickly adapt and return to their pre-surgical self within days to weeks and the changes in their physical appearance is surprisingly minimal in many cases.
We will always submit the mass for microscopic (histopathologic) review to ensure we have the right diagnosis and confirm the mass was removed completely.
Some more aggressive tumors may require chemotherapy or radiation for the best prognosis. And of course, in some cases, you may not want to pursue further treatment based on the tumor type and prognosis. In these instances we will develop a plan to ensure you and your pet are comfortable for as long as we have to enjoy them. We will work with you and your veterinarian throughout this process and cross each bridge as we get there.
Learn more about this disease by contacting our Dentistry service at your nearest BluePearl pet hospital. Here are our hospital locations.