Sunday, June 24, 2018

3181. *****Gum tumours (epulides) in dogs

Dental check up is important to enable the dog to have a full set of teeth to old age. Small breeds like the Spitz can live past 15 years in Singapore. If the dog has bad breath, there is periodontitis or gum diseases. Dental check up and work is important as poor dental health may lead to gum tumours during old age. Gum tumours may be very difficult to excise.

Images below show a 10-year-old Spitz with thick tartar encrusting the big premolar teeth removed. But the gum at the canine teeth had swollen. Compare this with the normal gum of the 6-year-old dog.

My best advice is to remove any epulis when it is small and send the growth for histology to check whether it is cancerous or not. When gum tumours are large and have invaded the teeth bones and become cancerous, more intensive and expensive treatment is needed.

Compare with 6-year-old dog's gum. Both dog had dental scaling done before photography.
The 6-year-old dog has loose front teeth, but the Spitz has strong teeth. 

No epulis

No epulis

See other cases

1.  A 12-year-old Miniature Schnauzer has an epulis. Surgery was advised.

2. Some dog owners prefer dental work to be done by dog groomers. Gasesous anaesthesia is very safe nowadays in very old dogs that are in relatively good health.

3. There are three categories of epulides: fibromatous, ossifying, and acanthomatous. Acanthomatous epuli, in particular, are highly invasive to the bone and are usually located on the front part of the lower jaw.  Below is a case of ossifying fibromatous epulis in a dog.

4.  A gigantic epulis keeps bleeding as the 3 vets did not want to operate

5. A gigantic epulis in a Jack Russell

6. Case seen in a 9-year-old Cairn Terrier in April 4, 2019

Annual dental check ups is important as poor dental health may lead to gum tumours during old age. Gum tumours may be very difficult to excise.

Each vet will give differing advices as regards surgery to remove the epulis. I will advise surgery when the epulis is small, but many owners are worried about anaesthetic risks of dying or economics.  Hence, many vets do not emphasize the importance of early surgery. When the epulides have become cancerous and have spread into the bone, surgery is difficult as parts of the bone need to be removed.

Past dental cases seen by me are at:

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