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Melanocytic tumors of the oral cavity arise from a local invasion of neoplastic melanocytic cells, or melanin-producing cells found in multiple sites throughout the body, including the mouth and skin. These tumors arise from the gingival surface and are aggressive in nature. They are usually raised, irregular, ulcerated, have a dead surface, and are highly invasive to bone.
Melanocytic tumors are the most common oral malignant tumors in dogs, commonly affecting dogs over 10 years of age. Such tumors may cause death as these render animals unable to eat, lose weight, and metastasis to other body parts.
The underlying cause for oral melanocytic tumors is currently unknown.
You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, to your veterinarian. He or she will then perform various laboratory tests, including a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count -- the results of which are typically normal -- as well as a physical examination, especially of the oral cavity.
Your veterinarian will also take a small deep tissue sample from the mass in the oral cavity, including a part of bone to be sent to a veterinary pathologist for further evaluation. Such biopsy samples are usually helpful in making a definitive diagnosis. In addition, X-rays of the oral cavity, skull, and lungs will help in the evaluation of the extent and location of metastasis.
The growth of pathogens away from the original site of the disease
The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
The term for the dark pigment in the cells of skin and hair
A treatment of certain neoplasms that is administered using an x ray
Something that becomes worse or life threatening as it spreads
Condition in which eating and/or swallowing is difficult
To remove by surgical methods
Small structures that filter out the lymph and store lymphocytes
The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.