|Epulides are firm masses involving the gingival tissue (gums). They are the most common benign oral tumors in dogs and
are less common in cats. These tumors may be seen in dogs of any age but generally are found in those over 6 years old.
The three histologic types of epulides are classified as fibromatous epulis, ossifying epulis, and acanthomatous epulis. The
ossifying form is a fibromatous mass that has developed centers of ossification. They are generally single masses,
although multiple masses may be present. The tumors are noninvasive, but may become quite extensive. They arise from
the periodontal ligament of the subjacent tooth (the ligament that attaches the tooth to the bone), and complete surgical
removal must include tissues up to and including the periodontal ligament. This often necessitates the removal of the
affected tooth or teeth but complete excision is curative.
What is the prognosis?
Fibromatous and ossifying epulides (benign tumors)
The prognosis for dogs with epulides is excellent following either surgery or radiation therapy treatment. Since these
tumors are benign, they do not metastasize (spread) to other organs. For these tumors, the local tumor recurrence rate
following surgical removal without removing the bone is 0-17% for dogs. Local recurrence is common in cats with multiple
epulides and is reported in 73% of 11 cats 3 months to 8 years after surgical removal. Radiation therapy is rarely required
for these tumors and simple surgical removal is usually sufficient.
Acanthomatous epulides (benign but locally invasive)
The treatments used for this type of tumor include surgery or radiation therapy. Because these tumors often invade the
adjacent bone, the surgical removal of these tumors also includes bone removal. The radiation therapy seems to be less
effective for tumors that are larger than 4cm in diameter and other complications associated with radiation therapy include
bone decay observed in 6% of dogs and development of new tumors in the irradiated area in 5-18% of dogs. One study of
4 dogs showed that a chemotherapy drug called bleomycin administered directly into the tumor resulted in response in 4
dogs, but this study is too small to draw any general conclusions.
|Oral Epulides in Cats and Dogs
|PET CANCER CENTER
Comprehensive guide to cancer diagnosis and treatment in cats and dogs