Oral Cancers

Oral cancers in dogs are undetected until later stages. Identify the signs and treatment options, including chemo and the melanoma vaccine.

James Jacobson: One of the cancers that you talk about in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide is oral cancers, cancers of the mouth. Dr. Dressler, if you’re looking at a dog who has oral cancer, what are the signs and symptoms that you might be seeing?

Dr. Demian Dressler: I’ll be honest, these tumors are most commonly at least in my experience found by Veterinarians during a physical exam. And the reason for this is that, it’s only in the later stages where we see signs at home. Many times these tumors are just silently growing somewhere in the mouth, usually along the gum line or occasionally back in the tonsil area, in the roof of the mouth, the palate, occasionally under the tongue, and unless a guardian is really involved either in home dental care or just very, very tuned in to looking for things that are abnormal on the mouth, they usually won’t actually find that. Now, in the late stages it’s true that there may be signs that are visible at home that a guardian could pick up and these would include things like difficult to eating or drooling, or possibly bleeding or sometimes even really bad breath as the top of the tumor starts to get a little bit broken down and starts to smell a little bit bad.

James Jacobson: Dr. Ettinger, your thoughts on oral cancers.

Dr. Susan Ettinger: Yeah! It’s one of those such frustrating for the guardian because they are often found late because to be honest she sticks her fingers in their dog’s mouth all the time so, it can be frustrating, there’s a couple common malignant cancers that we see. In general excluding oral melanoma most of the oral cancers tend to be what we call a local disease so they tend to stay in the head and neck area and have lower spread rate, so most of the treatment options were gonna be focussed on the cancer in the oral cavity, and whether that surgery or radiation. Those are the two main conventional treatment options that will think about for the main oral cancers excluding oral melanoma.

James Jacobson: Dr. Dressler, what are some of the options that you look out when you’re dealing with oral cancers?

Dr. Demian Dressler: In addition to the ones that you, Dr. Ettinger brought up, we should also consider specially with the melanoma is a, not only the chemotherapy but additionally the melanoma vaccine which is available through oncologist, we can really, really help with survival time. And we’ve also got to make our dietary changes to a cancer fighting diet. It’s important to focus on supplementation with proper supplements like the use of apoptogens, which are plant derived compounds that help to turn on cancer cells suicide. Immune support are very, very important as well on the supplement front and life quality enrichment as usual is such an important piece of cancer management so that we can really get good life quality and take advantage of some altered brain chemistry that may be beneficial in helping a K9 cancer patients are also considerably.

James Jacobson: Dr. Dressler in Hawaii, Dr. Ettinger in New York, thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Susan Ettinger: Thank you.

Dr. Demian Dressler: Thank you.


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