Oral masses in cats should be evaluated as early as possible!
The incidence of oral masses is much more common in our practice than reported in the veterinary literature. This is not surprising since Dr. Kressin has a very strong passion for treating these patients and most local veterinarians are aware of his dedication. Referral cases for oral and dental tumors are increasing due to higher awareness of these problems and from the local veterinarians' improved skill in performing oral exams.
Every physical exam should include an oral exam. For the more difficult cats to examine, it is particularly important to perform an oral exam every time they are sedated or anesthetized. Oral masses can result from infection, inflammation, chemical or foreign body irritation, cyst formations, or oral tumors.
It is never a good idea to wait and watch for oral tumors to grow or to go away on their own without treatment. Because of the nature of cats, oral masses are frequently not identified early. Early identification and evaluation allows for early diagnosis and treatment. This intentional emphasis on being "early" can be life saving.
Early evaluation allows for early diagnosis and earlier, more effective treatment!
Diagnostic tests are available for oral tumors.
Tissue biopsy is helpful in determining what the oral mass is. Some oral masses are benign while others are malignant (life threatening). Dental radiographs are very helpful to determine whether there may be bony invasion from the oral mass. Computed tomography may be helpful to map the oral mass in three dimensions. This verifies if surgical treatment is likely to be successful.
Prognosis with respect to oral masses depends on the diagnosis.
The importance of an accurate diagnosis cannot be overstated. We have seen many oral tumors in cats that look very bad, that are only inflammatory lesions, and we have seen other oral masses that appear unimportant, that are malignant (life threatening).
An accurate diagnosis requires a deep biopsy. Superficial biopsies may not be representation of the true disease. The result can be misleading and will either delay treatment, or result in no treatment. Dr.Kressin enjoys a very unique opportunity to work closely with a medical oncologist to optimize treatments for oral tumors.
Read additional information on the biology of oral tumors.
The incidence of oral tumors in cats differs from dogs
The most common malignant oral tumor (by far) in cats is squamous cell carcinoma.
The duration and the location of this tumor affects the prognosis. In our experience, tumors located more anterior, or toward the front of the mouth, have a better chance for surgical treatment, and a better long term prognosis.
A very personal clinical case!
Oreo is the beautiful black and white
cat with the tail up so proud!
Dr. Kressin's Oreo had a nerve sheath
tumor of the tongue. This mass was
removed at age 21 years young!
She suddenly was unable to eat well.
The mass was excised and she returned
to normal eating.
Please use the link to oral tumors to read more information and see clinical images of cats and dogs. Dr. Kressin understands the concerns and fears we all experience when our pets have problems. The dental consultation is an excellent opportunity to discuss these concerns.
Oral masses may arise from occlusal trauma!
Here is a view of a mass associated
with occlusal trauma.
Alternat view of mass associated with
a traumatic occlusion.
Cat Dental Care