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Tongue Cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma) in Dogs



There are not many effective treatments for these tumors, since many tumors are too large to be removed without causing significant disability, or they are in a location where they cannot practicably be removed. However, sometimes dogs with tumors close to the front, or on one side of the tongue can be treated with surgery. If this is the case, part of the tongue will be removed along with the tumor. Depending on the size and location of the tumor, it may not be possible to remove it in its entirety. For cases such as this, your veterinarian will counsel you on the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiation therapy for stopping or slowing regrowth of the tumor.


Dogs that have part of their tongue removed generally recover well after surgery but may have trouble eating for some time during the recovery process. Your veterinarian will help guide you in creating a meal plan for your dog. Choices will be limited to soft or liquid foods, and in some cases, a feeding tube may be required until your dog's mouth has healed sufficiently. The feeding tube is usually placed directly in the stomach. If this is necessary, your veterinarian will guide you in the proper technique for placing the tube.


Living and Management


Your veterinarian will help you to plan a meal schedule and will recommend the foods that will be best for your dog during recovery. Be sure to follow your veterinarian's directions closely. If your dog had surgery to remove part of its tongue, it will likely need a feeding tube when it comes home with you. This tube will need to be kept in place until your dog's tongue and mouth have recovered from surgery. Once the feeding tube is removed, your dog will need to continue with a soft food that is easy to digest. You may find that it is helpful to encourage your dog to eat from your hand, using small amounts of food at a time, until it is eating well on its own again.


It is characteristic for carcinomas to return after surgery. While each animal responds differently, in most cases a dog will do well for a few months after treatment or surgery before the disease returns.



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