You know that you’re crazy about dogs when you immediately notice even the “tiniest” changes in your dog’s appearance. This is why it never surprises us that many pet owners will be the first to see dental epulis in their dog’s mouth without understanding what that “condition” is.
In this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss precisely what dental epulis is so that if it looks like this “might be” what your dog is experiencing, you won’t spend too much time worrying about them before you get them “officially” examined by a professional.
Dental Epulis Defined
Dental epulis are oral tumors that occur in the gums of your dog. And before you freak out and start worrying, let us make it clear right from the beginning that Epulis tumors are benign. This means that they are not cancerous and will not spread to other body parts. This is why, even though they are in the oral cavity, they aren’t going to enter into your dog’s teeth, jaw, or bone structures.
Three Types of Dental Epulis
Fibromatous Epulis – These dental epulis tumors are often near the incisors or the canine teeth in your dog’s mouth. It typically consists of rigid and fibrous tissues, hence the name “fibro.”
Mandibular Ossifying Fibroma – are generally located near the molar teeth/tooth and are typically comprised of bone tissue (mandibular is science-speak for jaw bone).
Acanthomatous Epuli is a really “invasive” type of dental epulis. And while we use the term “invasive,” we want to stress again that even these “types” of epulis tumors are not cancerous, which is why you’re generally not going to find them spread to other parts of the body.
Symptoms associated with Dental Epulis tumors
If you think your dog has an oral tumor or oral tumors, these are some of the clinical signs you might see:
- Halitosis (science-speak for dog breath that’s worse than normal dog breath),
- Blood in the mouth,
- Problems eating,
- Weight Loss (probably due to difficulties eating),
- Drooling more than average dog drool,
- Large neck lymph nodes,
- An asymmetric jaw.
Which breeds get dental epulis? Of course, any dog could get an epulis, but it is more common in some species, such as boxers.
Diagnosing Dental Epulis
Usually, the above symptoms will lead a vet to give your dog more tests to determine if this is an epulis or a malignant tumor. Dental X-rays will help diagnose, as will a biopsy, which will further examine the gum tissue near the cancer.
Now it is essential…
Be sure to have your veterinarian check out any tumorous lesions that you may find within your dog’s mouth because while it’s certainly possible that it may just be an epulis tumor, it could also be a squamous cell carcinoma, which is a malignant tumor of the mouth and is something that must be taken much more seriously than an epulis tumor. Other “types” of benign tumors that could be possibilities as well can include:
- Odontogenic Fibroma (usually in the mandible),
These are other lesions or tumors that are benign and possible to happen in your dog’s mouth or jaw.
After your vet diagnoses dental epulis, a treatment plan will be laid out. If the tumor is small, you can probably do a simple surgical removal, and life will be good. However, if the epulis tumor is more giant, the treatment could require:
- Radiation Therapy is more common in malignant tumors but could be considered depending on the circumstance.
- Partial Mandibulectomy – You may need to remove part of the lower jaw if things are bad (again, more common for malignant).
This is also why early diagnosis is so important because it can significantly reduce the care needed to treat your dog’s condition and the cost to do so.
Cost of Treatment
Depending on the type of treatment your dog requires (due to the severity of their epulides), the cost could vary anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Suppose it turns out to be a malignant tumor, aka cancer, then you’re looking at ongoing treatment that could cost more than $ 8,000, depending on how long it lasts.
At this point…
It’s probably important to remind folks that we at IndulgeYourPet aren’t doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals. All we are is a bunch of folks who care about animals and only want what’s best for them! If you feel your dog may be suffering from an epulis tumor or any other health issue, take them to a vet ASAP!
You can have your “buddy” examined by a professional, find out what’s going on, and get him treated immediately. However, once your dog is checked out and has a clean bill of health, we would also encourage you to take a moment and consider possibly purchasing a pet insurance policy for them. If they develop a “serious” medical condition in the future, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of those medical costs!
For more information about who we “feel” is currently offering the “best” pet insurance policies in the industry, we invite you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.