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Dog Epulis Tumors

Veterinarian Reviewed on January 12, 2015 by Dr. Janice Huntingford

Dog Epulis Tumors

Dog Epulis Tumors

This benign Dog Tumors is quite common in dogs. It is basically a tumor of the mouth. The usual location is along the gum line closest to the canine teeth or the incisors. This is a mass that originates in the tissue holding the dog’s teeth to the bones in the jaw. It is also known as a gum boil.

There are three distinct types of epulis tumors:

1. Fibramatous: this is one that is built from the tough and fibrous tissue

2. Ossifying: this type contains bone cells as well as fibrous tissue. They have the capability of becoming malignant.

3. Acanthomatous is more invasive. It will grow into the surrounding normal bone and destroy it. It is still benign.

Epulis occurs mostly in older dogs, with the Boxer dog breed being more prone than any of the other dog breeds. There is no propensity depending on sex of the dog.

Signs and Symptoms

Initially the dog’s owner will observe a growth visible between their dog’s teeth. It is generally the same color as the normal gum tissue but has a much smoother surface. It is possible to see one that is attached to the gum with a stalk type structure. As it enlarges, you will notice increased drooling and your dog may have increasing difficulty eating. Dog Loss of Appetite is also quite common. Your dog will have Dog Bad Breath and it will become malodorous and there can be some bleeding from the area. If the tumor enlarges too much it can impair your dog’s ability to breathe and it also has the ability to separate your dog’s teeth.


Although observation is the primary step in identification by your vet, a biopsy is the only way to accurately diagnose it. It is necessary to distinguish the epulis from other tumors that may be malignant, or other types of benign tumors.

Treatment Options

The only way to treat an epulis is to surgically remove it. Your vet will remove the obvious growth as well as a sizable amount of seemingly healthy surrounding tissue. This will ensure that all of the epulis is removed and hopefully not return. If there is any portion remaining, it can grow again. It is also usual to remove the surrounding teeth. If the epulides are large, Dog Radiation Therapy may be in order.


The goal is to remove the tumor when it is still small. If it is completely removed the prognosis is good. The longer you take to have it removed, the more likely it is that your dog will have further and more serious complications. There are types that are more difficult to remove due to the increased difficulty in their removal.

There have also been rare instances where radiation has ultimately resulted in the tumor becoming malignant.

Home Care

When your dog comes home, there are some treatment steps that only you can take. Initially your vet will prescribe antibiotics and pain medication. A topical type of medication may be ordered. This is one that is placed directly on the surgical area. Whatever the type of medication, it is the responsibility of the dog’s owner to administer it as it is ordered by the vet.

Chances are your dog will not have a huge appetite after surgery in the mouth. You may have to switch to a much softer diet than you have fed your dog in the past. Good nutrition leads to faster healing. You should also consider giving your dog Dog Cancer Dietary Supplements and follow Dog Palliative Cancer Care guidelines for a swift recovery.

Read also: Dog Lyme Disease
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Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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