Mouth Cancer (Amelobastoma) in Cats

PetMD Editorial
June 05, 2009
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Ameloblastoma in Cats

Ameloblastoma, previously known as adamantinoma, is a rare neoplasm that affects the tooth structures of cats. In most cases it is found to be benign in nature, but a malignant, more highly invasive form is also reported to occur as well. It may affect any tooth structure within the tooth arcade. Ameloblastoma is an extremely rare neoplasm in cats. However, as with many cancers, mostly older cats are affected.

Symptoms and Types

Ameloblastoma is usually benign in nature and remains well localized. You may notice a firm and smooth mass covering in the gingival space. The presence of a mass is usually enough to convince an owner to visit the veterinarian.

Causes

The exact cause is still unknown. It is categorized as idiopathic.

Diagnosis

You will need to give a thorough history of your cat's health and onset of symptoms. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination on your cat, with a detailed examination of the oral cavity, including the tumor mass. A complete blood profile will also be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. In most cases the laboratory test results are within normal ranges and no abnormality related to this neoplasm is noticed. X-ray images of the skull will be helpful in estimating the penetration of the neoplasm within the bone structures. A computed tomography (CT) scan will give more refined results and will help in initiating the treatment plan for your cat. Often a deep tissue biopsy will be conducted so that a sample of deeply penetrated neoplasm tissue can be examined. In this way your veterinarian can determine if the neoplasm is benign or malignant in nature.

Treatment

With most benign neoplasms, such as ameloblastoma, surgical excision remains the treatment of choice. After a determination has been made of the size, location, and extent of penetration, your veterinarian will schedule a surgery to remove the whole mass. During surgery some margins of normal tissue are also removed to ensure complete excision of the neoplasm. Alternatively, in some patients only radiation therapy is sufficient for complete resolution of the problem, while in other patients both surgical excision and radiation therapy may be needed for a complete cure.

Living and Management

Most patients will regain normal health without any complications after surgery. Follow your veterinarian's guidelines for after care, including special diet recommendations, until your cat is fully recovered and has begun to eat normally again. After the initial surgical or radiation therapy treatment, you may need schedule follow-up visits with your veterinarian every three months for complete progress evaluations. At each visit, your veterinarian will ensure that there is no re-growth of the tumor.