Tongue Cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma) in Dogs

4 min read

Lingual Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs

Dogs can be afflicted with several types of tumors, including in the mouth. Squamous cell carcinomas on the tongue are usually located underneath the tongue, where they attache to the bottom of the mouth. They can be white in color and sometimes have a cauliflower shape. This type of tumor grows and metastasizes quickly to other parts of the body.

A squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) can be described as a malignant and particularly invasive tumor that takes hold in the scale like cells of the epithelium – the tissue that covers the body or lines the cavities of the body. These scale like tissue cells are called the squamous. Carcinoma is, by definition, an especially malignant and persistent form of cancer, often returning after is has been excised from the body and metastasizing to other organs and locations on the body.

As with many types of carcinomas, this is usually seen in older dogs. In this case, older than seven years of age.

Symptoms and Types


There is no known cause for squamous cell carcinomas on the tongue.


You will need to provide your veterinarian with a complete medical history leading up to the symptoms. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your dog, taking into account the background history you have provided, along with the current symptoms and possible incidents that might have led to this condition, such as accidental ingestion of a toxic substance that might have led to mouth sores, or other injury to the mouth.

A full visual inspection will be made of your dog's mouth and tongue, and a sample will be taken from the tumor for laboratory analysis. This is the only assured method for determining whether the tumor is malignant or benign. X-ray images will also be taken of your dog's head and chest to determine if the cancer has spread into the bones, lungs, or brain. Your veterinarian will palpate your dog's lymph nodes to check for swelling – an indication that the body is fighting an invasive disease, and a sample of the lymph fluid will be taken to check for the presence of cancerous cells.

Standard tests include a complete blood count and biochemistry profile to make sure your dog's other organs are functioning normally.

Related Posts