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Hello all,

I'm completely beside myself with worry. I was just brushing Loki's teeth, as I do at least once a week, and noticed this giant growth.

I did not notice it last week when I was brushing his teeth, but that doesn't mean it wasn't there, it was just a lot smaller. The size it is now is impossible to miss when you lift his lip and see it through his teeth. He is showing no symptoms (he's eating/drinking just fine, behavior is normal, etc.)

I am taking him to his vet first thing 7am CST tomorrow morning when they open. I've been researching like crazy but I'm getting mixed answers on just how bad this could be. Fortunately, we have insurance, but I am beside myself.

Leigh
 

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My first guess would be that something got lodged in there and is now infected. Does he chew on sticks at all? A little piece may have gone into the skin of the roof of his mouth, and that is how his body is trying to eject it. Obviously that’s a complete guess, so I’m glad you’re taking him to the vet! Let us know how it goes. Good luck.
 

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My first guess would be that something got lodged in there and is now infected. Does he chew on sticks at all? A little piece may have gone into the skin of the roof of his mouth, and that is how his body is trying to eject it. Obviously that’s a complete guess, so I’m glad you’re taking him to the vet! Let us know how it goes. Good luck.
Yup - he was chewing on a stick pretty good for awhile a couple weeks ago, and he tried it again last week briefly before I stopped him. If it was as simple as that, I would be so relieved. I'm so worried.
 

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Sorry to see this! I know you are frantic to get an answer and rightfully so, but this sucker could be anything. You need to tell the vet that you want them to do a fine needle aspirate (suck out some cells from the mass with a syringe and look at them under a microscope). If they will not do this, demand that they refer you to someone who will, or find a vet who will on your own. Many vets will just go, hmmm, I dunno, la la la, let's just watch it for a few weeks.

If this is growing rapidly, it will most likely need to be completely removed asap unless unless it is a cyst or abscess that can be drained, or unless it is something so malignant that there is no point in putting the dog through the surgery. A biopsy may necessary. It would be a good idea to start checking out the board certified vet surgeons in your area just in case--mouth mass removal is not for amateurs.

Does it hurt Loki when you press on it?

Please keep us posted!
 

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Oh, boy. I got a better look at it and took a pic from a different angle. It's moving his teeth. This is big and really bad, whatever it is.
@JonRob - notes taken, thank you. He does not seem sensitive to it, no.
 

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Oh, boy. I got a better look at it and took a pic from a different angle. It's moving his teeth. This is big and really bad, whatever it is.

@JonRob - notes taken, thank you. He does not seem sensitive to it, no.
If it doesn't hurt it's almost certainly not an abscess--those things are insanely painful.

It does look nasty but it's still possible that there is a chunk of stick in there and his mouth has built up a non-painful fluid accumulation around it.

Does it feel squishy when you poke it or solid?
 

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If it's not something simple like an abcess, I would ask for a referral to a veterinary dentist. They are few and far between but are the specialists. They might have a better chance of removing it without taking out teeth. They will probably want to take an xray to get an idea of what it might be. Will start him on antibiotics. Possibly prednisone. We've had dogs that we thought we were going to have to euthanize and the growth went away with prednisone. Another that was scheduled to have what appeared to be MCT's but was put on abx for something else and those growths went away. You can never tell what something might be.

If it's something they want to surgically remove, then I do it and send it to the lab. They can do a needle aspirate but I usually choose to not do that in case a growth is something like a mast cell. A needle aspirate would cause an inflammatory response (as the body is designed to do in an injury) and can make a MCT worse. (the things you learn when you have Boxers :( )
 

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If it's not something simple like an abcess, I would ask for a referral to a veterinary dentist. They are few and far between but are the specialists. They might have a better chance of removing it without taking out teeth.
Leigh, if this is malignant, or even an aggressively growing "benign" tumor, the last thing you want to worry about is saving Loki's teeth. You will be focused on saving Loki's life. If this is malignant or aggressively benign, odds are he will need not only teeth but a piece of his jaw removed. A friend of mine had a Lab who had to have one quarter of his lower jaw removed because of an aggressive "benign" tumor. He did great, the tumor never came back, and he lived to be 12 years old. And the dog and his owner couldn't have cared less about his missing teeth.

They will probably want to take an xray to get an idea of what it might be. Will start him on antibiotics. Possibly prednisone.
Leigh, unless you know for sure what this is--and this requires a fine needle aspirate and/or a biopsy--you do not waste time with antibiotics or prednisone. If this is malignant or aggressively benign, getting it totally removed as soon as possible is critical.

They can do a needle aspirate but I usually choose to not do that in case a growth is something like a mast cell. A needle aspirate would cause an inflammatory response (as the body is designed to do in an injury) and can make a MCT worse.
A fine needle aspirate is especially important to do if a mast cell tumor is suspected. If it shows that the mass is a mast cell tumor, that gives the surgeon a critical piece of information--he or she needs to take very wide margins, and the mass should be removed as soon as possible.

I learned this the hard way when a dog of mine developed a little bump that looked like a mosquito bite. The vet refused to do a fine needle aspirate before the surgery and did not take wide margins. The mass and surrounding tissue were sent to a pathologist and found to be a mast cell tumor with dirty margins (cancer at the edges of the surrounding tissue). So the poor dog had to have a second surgery to totally get rid of the cancer. The cancer never came back and he lived to be 15 years old. I never let that dingbat vet treat any of my dogs again.

When another dog of mine developed a mass, I insisted on a fine needle aspirate, which showed that the tumor was a fibrosarcoma, a very nasty, aggressive cancer. This told the surgeon that he needed to operate immediately and take wide margins, which he did and got it all. The tumor never came back and the dog lived to be 14.

Leigh, you are going to hear lots of conflicting advice about Loki. You are an intelligent person with common sense, but your understandable worry and distress may cause you to be whipsawed back and forth. For Loki's sake, you need to stay as calm as you can and use your brains and common sense. The basic principles for dealing with something like this are straightforward:

1. Get a diagnosis as soon as possible. This means a fine needle aspirate and/or biopsy. X-rays may be needed to see if the mass has spread to the bone, but they are not enough by themselves.

2. If the mass needs to come out, have it done as soon as possible by a good board-certified vet surgeon, not a GP or dentist. You may also need to consult a board-certified veterinary oncologist.

Hang in there! Even if Loki's mass is something horrible, it may be totally treatable and he could live a long life if he is diagnosed quickly and treated promptly and correctly. So please don't panic, and use your head when evaluating advice.
 

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I haven’t posted because I have no experience with this and nothing to add, but I’m following your thread, too. Please let us know.
 

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Ditto on what the below are saying.
I would be racking my mind crazy if this was my pup. Really hoping its something easily taken care of. Sending you and Loki lots of love and support.
 

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My first guess would be that something got lodged in there and is now infected. Does he chew on sticks at all? A little piece may have gone into the skin of the roof of his mouth, and that is how his body is trying to eject it. Obviously that’s a complete guess, so I’m glad you’re taking him to the vet! Let us know how it goes. Good luck.
My girl gets stick pieces lodged between her teeth and I have seen her gum swell when there is stuff in there, but not like that.

She has had a few extractions and i think it allowed her other teeth to shift, so the gaps between her molars are slightly bigger. I have pulled 2 or 3 inch slabs of wood out of there that were embedded in her gum and hardly visible.

I have tried everything and a toothpick followed by water pick is the only way to get stuff out of there. I can tell because suddenly her breath will smell bad.

I've had an evolvong zero tolerance policy on stick chewing where finally I've laid down the law and there is absolutely no stick chewing. Hard to convince my stick fiends and I live in the woods.

If she were not as tolerant as she is about me digging stuff out of there it would have cost me a fortune in vet bills.
 

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Hi all,

Thank you so much for your concern, it means so much. Makes me feel a lot better.

Loki went under anesthesia and got a biopsy last night, we should have results some time in the next 7 days. I am prepared for the worst, of course, but trying very hard not to let it consume me. I still have work to do and he has no idea what's going on, he's actually super confused about why I'm so upset.

The good news is they took x-rays and it isn't in his teeth/bones. However it's extensive enough to where depending on the outcome of these results, we will likely need a specialist to remove it. I am feeling pretty grateful my friend suggested such great pet insurance right now.

No matter what happens with the results, I want you all to know I have his best interests at heart 100%. I will not let him suffer, but I will fight tooth and nail to make him better if it's fair to him. I know I've only had him two months, but he has my whole heart.

Love to each of you. I will keep you in the loop.

Leigh
 

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Thank you so much for the update! My girlfriend and I have been very worried about whether the vet did right by Loki. We are so happy that you were able to get Loki a biopsy right away. A biopsy is better than a fine needle aspirate because there is more tissue to look at, which makes for a better chance of an accurate diagnosis. But it is sometimes hard to get a vet to do a biopsy promptly.

I am prepared for the worst, of course, but trying very hard not to let it consume me. I still have work to do and he has no idea what's going on, he's actually super confused about why I'm so upset.
Your best bet is to spend as much time as you can with Loki, relaxing and doing things you both enjoy. Whatever the outcome is with Loki, you will be glad you did this. Loki is a gift, and you should enjoy him as much as possible. If you focus on him and things he likes to do, you will be much less upset, and he will be happier. And BTW, he is such a good boy to let you hold his mouth wide open to take pics.

The good news is they took x-rays and it isn't in his teeth/bones. However it's extensive enough to where depending on the outcome of these results, we will likely need a specialist to remove it. I am feeling pretty grateful my friend suggested such great pet insurance right now.
That is very good news. If the mass is malignant, Loki will also need a chest X-ray and abdominal ultrasound to see whether the cancer has spread. This will be very important for making decisions about treatment.

No matter what happens with the results, I want you all to know I have his best interests at heart 100%. I will not let him suffer, but I will fight tooth and nail to make him better if it's fair to him. I know I've only had him two months, but he has my whole heart.
Can't speak for anyone else, but my girlfriend and I know that! Loki is lucky to have you. The good Lord sent him to you for a reason.

We have frequently taken in sick and disabled dogs (perhaps because we are physically disabled ourselves), and we have always considered it a privilege to take care of them. They have been so happy and they have brought us so much joy.
 

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I am sorry if I missed it but did you say what lead you to even look in his mouth? I cant believe you even found this.
So happy you are on the journey to figuring this out, really hope for the best.

Just wondering, What pet insurance do you have for Loki? These are defiantly the situations we can never plan for where it becomes such a god sent to have!
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
@JonRob - Yep, working from home as much as possible this week to just spend time with him. We were just dancing to his song ("Cool" by Jonas Brothers hahahaha). Thank you for advice, as always, I value your feedback so much. I will make sure to ask the vet about a chest x-ray and abdominal ultrasound if it comes back cancerous.


@LRP - I brush his teeth regularly, usually once a week. Last week I noticed a spot on his tooth so I inspected that area pretty good, but didn't notice the growth. This week when I brushed them, it was very obviously peeking out through his teeth.

As for insurance, we use PetsBest! $35/month, $250 deductible, 90% unlimited coverage. Waiting periods once you start is 3 days for accidents, 14 days for illness, and 6 months for cruciate ligament events and any related conditions. They've been pretty busy this summer which delays the process for my claims on Loki, but my friend who's had them for years for her GSD says they're typically lightning fast processing claims, usually within a couple of days.
 

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@Leigh Fields



We don't brush our dogs teeth because they have been able to keep them so clean with the chews they eat but I am thinking it wouldn't be bad to do routine checks just to make sure everything looks good. I have trained them both to allow me to touch their teeth so they can get checked at the vet and in case I need to get something out of there mouth in a hurry (there was an incident with a stick:wink2:)

The BEST thing about this forum is what we learn from each other dealing with our dogs and sharing the experiences with each other. Thank you for sharing this.

Wow, that is a GREAT price. PetsBest quoted me $64/month for 1 dog for the same coverage. We ended up choosing HealthyPaws and get both dogs covered for about $80.
 
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