Epulides in dogs come in three different forms and can affect any breed at any age. In the vast majority of cases, they are not life threatening, but they can cause several issues with your dog.
They can cause their face to become deformed, excessive salivation to develop, as well as extremely bad breath.
If they become severe enough, they can also cause dysphagia to develop.
This is a dangerous condition on its own, as it will cause your dog to quit eating which can threaten their overall health.
Epulides in dogs, which is plural for epulis, are considered to be the most common forms of benign oral tumors in dogs.
It is a tumor that will affect the periodontal ligament in your dog, which is the main structure that holds their teeth into place as it helps hold the teeth to the bone of their jaw.
In most cases, they will attack near the gum tissues located by your dog’s incisors, also referred to as the canine teeth.
These benign tumors also have another name; gum boils.
These benign oral tumors are often confused with the most aggressive form of this tumor; Acanthomatous epulides.
Acanthomatous epulides are one of the types of Epulides that can develop, but they are considered to be the rare and worst of all of the types.
In this form the tumors are much more invasive, can grow very rapidly, and can regrow even after they are removed.
They are considered much more dangerous to your dog then the other two types of Epulides, which are much easier to control.
Epulides in dogs come in three types and they are grouped by the medical community by their tissue origin as well as how they grow.
They include Fibromatous, Ossifying, and Acanthomatous tumors.
The first type is referred to as Fibromatous epulis and is by far and away the most common form of Epulides that attack dogs.
It is estimated that they account for 55 to 60 percent of all the reported cases and are considered to be what is called pedunculated.
This basically means that they will be on a stalk or a stem when they develop, and will be non-ulcerating.
This is a huge factor with this condition, simply because there will be very little chance of them erupting on the outside of their growth which causes it to rapidly spread.
The second type of Epulides in dogs is referred to as Ossifying.
These will occur at a much smaller ratio than Fibromatous epulis, as they are estimated to result in 20 and 24 percent of all reported cases of this condition.
They are also pedunculated and non-ulcerating. However, they will cover a much broader base of attachment and are less pedunculated than the Fibromatous types.
The final type of Epulides is Acanthomatous epulides and they are estimated to occur in only about 15 to 18 percent of all reported cases.
These are much more dangerous as they become locally invasive and as a result, they will destroy your dogs bone in the affected connective tissues.
They are also benign, but they are much more aggressive, grow much faster, and can and do re-develop even after they have been surgically removed.
To this day, there is still no known actual cause, but there is one thing that is known; they usually attack dogs after they are six years or older.
Boxers are the only breed where genetics may play a role, however, it is important to remember that they can and do affect all breeds and show no gender bias.
Epulides in dogs will show an owner several very easy ways to spot symptoms if they are aware of what to watch for.
The first sign of this condition will be a very slow but enlarging mass that will begin to develop along your dog’s gingival margin.
Once this does occur and starts to enlarge, two other symptoms will begin to emerge.
The first will be a displacement of several of your dog’s teeth as well as something much more frightening; facial deformities
These deformities can than very easily lead to excessive salivation.
All dogs salivate on occasion and larger breeds much more than most breeds, but as the Epulides grow, this will be very noticeable in your dog.
The next symptom is usually Halitosis or bad breath.
No one knows your dog any better than you do.
When their breath starts to become noticeable, it is always a real warning sign that something is happening to your dog.
As the tumor continues to grow, your dog will also start to have a very difficult time eating.
This will naturally lead to your dog losing weight, which in itself is a real danger to your dog’s overall health if it is not planned.
However, there is one more real warning sign to watch for; bleeding from the mouth.
This is something that should stop every owner dead in their tracks as it is anything but normal.
Treatments for Epulides in dogs will be surgical removal in almost every case. However, the type of the Epulides usually dictates the type of surgery.
With Fibromatous and Ossifying epulis, removing the growth by surgical excision is almost always extremely effective.
However, if it does develop into the much more dangerous Acanthomatous type, the process will be much different.
In this case it will have to be much broader than just removal of the tumor as it may be necessary to remove parts of your dog’s jaw and could involve both portions of the lower and upper jaw.
Diet will also play a major role in the treatment process. Soft food are highly recommended to do two things; to sooth after surgery as well as preventing the tumors from ulcerating.
In the very rare cases where the Epulides are inoperable, radiation therapy may have to be used.
Epulides in dogs are the most common type of benign tumors, but in the vast majority of cases they can successfully be removed.
However, it is extremely important for an owner to understand the symptoms as the earlier they are identified, the better the overall prognosis is for your dog.