PetMD Seal

Tonsil Cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma) in Dogs



Surgery may be used to perform an aggressive excision of the tonsils and affected tissue. However, most patients at the time of diagnosis are inoperable, either because of the location of the tumor, or the extent to which it has spread before its effects have been observed.


Removal of the affected lymph nodes may be conducted to prevent further spreading of cancerous cells, but it seldom provides a permanent cure. Radiotherapy may also be used in some patients, but its success has not been satisfactorily confirmed, so it is seldom used for these patients.


In cases where it is possible to operate and remove most of the affected area, the tumor and affected lymph nodes will be removed, and the surgery will be followed by radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy to prevent or slow down the spread of cancerous cells to other areas of the body.


Living and Management


Good nutritional support will be essential for ensuring the maintenance of your dog's body weight and condition. It is important to monitor your dog's food and water intake while it is recovering. After surgery, your dog will very likely not have much of an appetite, and will not want to eat or drink in great quantities. It may be necessary to temporarily use a feeding tube. In these cases you veterinarian will show you how to use the feeding tube correctly (placing it directly into the dog's stomach), and will assist you in setting up a feeding schedule.


After surgery, you should expect your dog to feel sore. To minimize discomfort, your veterinarian will provide you with pain medication for your dog. In addition, you will need to set up an area in the house where your dog can rest comfortably and quietly, away from other pets, active children, and busy entryways. Trips outdoors for bladder and bowel relief should be kept short and easy for your dog to handle during the recovery period. Use pain medications with caution and follow all directions carefully; one of the most preventable accidents with pets is overdose of medication.


Overall prognosis in affected animals is poor due to the aggressive nature of this tumor and frequency of metastasis to other body locations. Even with treatment, overall survival time generally is not more than several months. The decision to go forward with surgery or chemical therapy will be based on the actual prognosis. In some cases, end of life pain management may be in order.



Related Articles

Nose Pad Cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma) in Dogs

The squamous epithelium is a type of epithelium that consists of the outer layer of flat, scale-like cells, which are called squamous cells....

Foot/Toe Cancer in Dogs

Dogs can be afflicted with several types of skin tumors, even on their feet and toes. The most common type of type of tumor to affect the toes...

Lung Cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma) in Dogs

A squamous cell carcinoma of the lung is a type of metastasizing tumor that arises from the squamous epithelium in lungs.

Brain Tumors in Dogs

A tumor is defined as an abnormal growth of cells, and may be classified as primary or secondary. Learn more about Dog Brain Tumor causes and...