Melanocytes are melanin-producing cells that are found throughout the body including mouth and skin. Melanin is pigment that is responsible for skin color. Melanocytic tumors of the oral cavity arise from a local invasion of neoplastic melanin-producing cells (melanocytes). These aggressive tumors arise from the gingival surface and are usually raised, irregular, ulcerated, have a dead surface and highly invasive to bone.
Older dogs are more prone to these most common canine oral malignant tumors. The tumors are potentially fatal.
Common symptoms associated with melanocytic tumors of the oral cavity include
Bad breath (halitosis)
Excessive salivation (ptyalism)
Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
Oral discharge containing blood
Weight loss (cachexia)