These types of tumors can be very difficult to treat. Surgery is not helpful in many cases because the tumor has usually spread to other areas by the time it is diagnosed, but if the tumor is found before it has had the chance to spread significantly, surgery may be recommended as the best treatment of choice. Once the tumor is removed, a large amount of bone and tissue surrounding the tumor must also be removed to be sure that the majority of cancerous cells have been removed. Sometimes this means that part of the jaw must also be removed. Most dogs do well with part of the jaw removed.
These types of tumors in the mouth do not respond well to radiation therapy or chemotherapy, though some types of chemotherapy can be injected into the tumor. This may keep the tumor from growing as rapidly, and make your dog more comfortable.
Living and Management
If your dog has surgery to remove the tumor, its mouth will be sore for a while after, and if part of the jaw has been removed, there will be some difficulty with chewing afterward until your dog has learned to compensate for the loss of teeth and bone. Your veterinarian will recommend that you feed your dog soft food in the interim, and even sit with your dog, feeding it small amounts slowly by hand until it is able to do so again on its own. Your veterinarian may recommend a special food for animals that have cancer.
Chemotherapy injected into the tumor can also cause the mouth to be sore and possibly bleeding, and will also require soft food until the condition has been resolved. Your veterinarian may recommend a special diet that is made especially for dogs that have cancer and are undergoing treatment. Chemotherapy often does not have a curative effect, but it may slow the growth of the tumor and help to make your dog more comfortable.