Dog Oral Melanoma
Dog Oral Melanoma
It would be stating the obvious that dogs are different from humans in many ways. However, there are things that they have in common with humans; the most obvious being that they are mammals. Another thing that they have in common with humans is a very unfortunate thing. It is the ability to develop cancer. As most humans are aware, cancer is a disease that slowly eats away at the healthy cells in the body. Very briefly, if not treated, cancer will certainly end in death. Even if the cancer is treated, the prognosis of the patient will vary. This is all the same with dogs as well. Their life spans are relatively brief compared to humans as it is. To add to this, these animals don’t have the gift of advanced speech that humans do. Therefore, it’s up to dog owners to be very aware if their dog is suffering with cancer, and also know what to do about it.
One cancer that a can develop in particular is Oral Melanoma. Oral Melanoma is a type of cancer that affects the mouth, the throat, and the connecting tissues of the mouth.
Signs and Symptoms
A dog owner needs to be aware of various physical and behavioral signs that their dog may have developed this type of cancer. Physical signs might be a lump in the mouth. There might be changes in the gums, and on the tooth line. Along with this, your dog might display changes in their behavior. Because they have a mass in their mouth, they might want to lick at it. They might drool more than what is normal. Increased drooling is usually a common sign of sickness in dogs. Furthermore, they might display their version of moaning in pain by whining more. The noises that come out of them might sound unusual. The dog might display Dog Loss of Appetite and stop eating, and develop strange patterns of elimination. A dog owner should try to take notice if their dog is showing signs of Dog Weight Loss in spite of being offered food. They need to check if their dog is eliminating themselves in a way that seems out of control, despite having have been trained in this area. In short, any changes in what the owner has come to know as healthy behavior needs to be noted and a doctor needs to be consulted right away.
A doctor can diagnose oral melanoma like they would any other type of Dog Cancer. They would take a biopsy of the lump and conduct blood work. Something to note is that just like in the case of humans, not all lumps are malignant. But one should never take a chance that a lump isn’t serious. Let the veterinarian determine that for you.
If your vet determines that your dog indeed has oral melanoma cancer, the course of treatment would be the same as with humans. Your dog would receive treatment in the form of chemotherapy and radiation. How much treatment your dog would receive depends on the size of the lump, and how far advanced the cancer has become. The more advanced the cancer is, the more aggressive the treatment is going to be.
Humans have a hard time with cancer treatment, and certainly your dog will as well. It’s important to keep your dog as comfortable as possible. They probably won’t want to eat, so the dog owner needs to get with their vet to discuss a nourishment plan. With oral melanoma, the dog will experience pain, so the vet will prescribe the typical pain medications. This will all be hard on your dog as well as yourself. However, if your dog doesn’t receive treatment, they can only be expected to live at the most for a couple of months. Those last couple of months will be filled with intense suffering for them. As the dog’s owner your will have to decide if it’s worth it to put your dog through extensive cancer treatment. Although it’s harsh, it could very well save your dog’s life.
Oral Melanoma is a sad diagnosis for a dog to have, as well as for the dog’s human family to hear. However, if caught in time, the prognosis is fair. It’s very important to be on the lookout as a dog owner for symptoms, and to remember that your dog needs you to be both a loving, and aware pet parent.