Introduction & Information on Canine Oral Melanoma…

May 10, 2009

Our dog, Barney, a 10-year-old Golden Retriever/Springer Spaniel cross, was diagnosed with an oral melanoma on 21st May 2009. This came as a great shock and the process to begin treatment happened very quickly. I’d like to share his story with you because I don’t think that there is enough information regarding canine oral melanoma available. Most dog owners will have never heard of it, nor would they know what to look for. I was not aware that this type of cancer occurs more commonly in the following dogs;

Black/dark dogs
Male dogs
Dogs aged between 9 years and 12 years

Had I known this, being an already very over protective and over cautious pet owner, I’d have been much more vigilant and looked out for signs of early cancer; especially as Barney is a black, male dog, aged 10+ years.

The following excerpt/information is taken from this website:

Early Signs of Canine Oral Melanoma

Most oral tumors are not noticed early, because it can be difficult for a dog owner to look inside the dog’s mouth. As a result, many tumors go undiagnosed — and untreated — until they are advanced. By then, the dog has a poorer chance of recovery.

Fortunately, tumors in the mouth, including canine oral melanomas, are easy for your veterinarian to detect during a routine oral examination. This can mean the difference between life and death for many dogs.

Dog owners can help identify the presence of tumors by looking for secondary signs, including:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of teeth
  • Facial swelling

If you notice any of these signs, it is always a good idea to notify your veterinarian. Your veterinarian knows best how to proceed to diagnose cancer or eliminate it as a concern for you.

Part of the diagnosis for oral tumors often includes a biopsy, or removing a small tissue sample from the tumor and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. Your veterinarian also may use x-rays or other diagnostic tools the help stage the cancer.


5 Responses to “Introduction & Information on Canine Oral Melanoma…”

  1. Shari said

    Today was Maggie Lynn’s second look at what we thought was a stubborn infection, we ended up with a biopsy, Dr. says it doesnt look good, already bigger than it was a week ago. My beautiful 10 yr old black lab is still acting like she’s a pup, tugging me along for walks, swimming after sticks in the creek….how can they say “it doesn’t look good” ? Just have to wait until next week to find out…but I think I know. 8/9/11

    • canineoralmelanoma said

      I’m sorry that you’re having to wait for an answer. It’s really hard. I’ll be thinking of you both and I pray it’s not bad news for you. Please let me know xx

  2. Annie said

    can anyone help me? or have some advice?
    my story is very sad, as our dog was just diagnosed with this 2 weeks ago, but we first noticed the cancer back in April and didn’t know anything about this. the horrible vet we had then never diagnosed it and told us the mouth lesion was an infection. we went on antibiotics and then off and then on, until 2 weeks ago when we looked for a 2nd vet who finally did the needle test and now we know. but it has been 4 months and he cancer has grown.
    our cancer specialist says if we want to act on treating it we have to do it now. we just met her Friday, and she says we really need to start on Monday (Aug 22) if we decide we want treatment. it’s surgery, then maybe local radiation, and then vaccine. the surgery will only debulk the tumours (on cheek and neck) so that the cancer is microscopic, and then we see if we need radiation, and we should definitely do the vaccine. it’s a very costly treatment, $5000 surgery, $4500 radiation, $2500 vaccine. we’re thinking about doing the surgery and then the vaccine and skipping the radiation. the specialist says this may be possible as treatment, but she would not know until after the surgery as to whether radiation is a must. we really can’t afford much more than the surgery + vaccine, we are already scrapping up money to get this. he is 18 years old but blood tests are good, he’s still eating, drinking, still sharp, still in good shape considering his age. on monday Xrays and ultrasound will show if it has spread and if not, the specialist recommends surgery immediately, on the same day, as we can’t prolong this any longer if we want treatment. but i really don’t know what to do. am i only setting myself up for more days of agony and false hope? the only other option is to let the cancer spread and then one day (very soon) make that decision I can’t bear to think of making.

  3. Amy said

    thank you for sharing Barney’s story. I found this site while searching for some information for my own dog. What a beautiful boy!

  4. I like it when folks come together and share thoughts.
    Great website, stick with it!

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