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Mouth Cancer (Gingiva Fibrosarcoma) in Dogs

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Treatment depends on how large the tumor is and how much of the surrounding bone is affected by the tumor. If the tumor is very small and does not affect any of the surrounding bone, it may be removed through a technique that uses freezing (cryosurgery). Generally, a large amount of surrounding tissue must be removed along with the tumor. In some cases, this means that part of the lower jaw must be removed (hemimandibulectomy) along with the tumor. Most dogs recover well after this type of surgery.


If the tumor is too large to be removed safely, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may help to control the tumor and its symptoms for a while. Chemotherapy is used to give relief from symptoms when the tumor cannot be removed.


Living and Management


If your dog's tumor is removed by cryosurgery, its mouth will be sore for a while. You will need to give your dog food that is soft enough that it does not need to be chewed. This way your dog will be able to continue to eat as its mouth heals and return to feeling normal as quickly as possible. Your veterinarian can advise you on some appropriate food options.


If your dog has had surgery to remove the tumor and part of its lower jaw, it will stay in the hospital for several days after surgery until it has stabilized. It will need to be fed intravenously (IV) during this stage of recovery. Your veterinarian will monitor your dog's pain level and its ability to eat and drink. Once your dog is able to go home, it will probably need to eat soft food for some time after. Because part of the lower jaw is missing, it will take longer for your dog to eat a meal as it learns to compensate for the missing bone. In some cases, you will need to sit with your dog and assist it in eating, feeding it small amounts of food by hand. Your dog may be given pain medication to help it though the roughest part of the recovery stage. Follow your veterinarian's directions carefully regarding the medications, and the amount and frequency, to avoid overdose.


If your dog is not able to have surgery because of complications that would make it too dangerous, your veterinarian may recommend either radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can either be given by IV, or directly into the tumor. Both of these types of therapy can help to reduce the size of the tumor along with the symptoms. Keep in mind that radiation therapy can also make the mouth sore, so your dog will need to eat soft food until the pain passes. Your dog may be given pain medication to help with the soreness. The drugs used for this type of treatment can sometimes cause nausea and vomiting. If your dog is not eating because of this side-effect, you may be given medications to help control the nausea so that your dog can continue to eat normally. Follow all medication directions carefully and consult your veterinarian if you should ever be in doubt. Overdose of medication is one of the most preventable causes of death in dogs.



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