Tumors of the Gums (Epulis) in Dogs

An epulis is the most common benign tumor or tumor like masses of the mouth in dogs. It is usually located in the gum tissue near the incisors or canine teeth. It originates in the connective tissue that holds the teeth to the bone of the jaw. The literal translation of "epulis" is "gum boil."

They appear early on as small masses sprouting from the gum, which seem to hang from a stalk, and often displace tooth structures as they expand. Most epulides stick to the bone, do not have a capsule, and have a smooth to slightly nodular surface. They do not spread but may deform the face.

Wide-head and short stature breeds (brachycephalic) like boxers, are more prone to this tumor.

There are three types of epulides:

Fibromatous: Consists of tough, fibrous tissue.


Ossifying: In addition to fibrous tissue, also contains bone cells. These may transform into cancerous tumors.


Acanthomatous: More invasive, growing into the normal bone around it and destroying it, but not metastasizing.

Symptoms associated with epulides include:

Excessive salivation

Bad breath (halitosis)

Trouble eating

Blood from the mouth

Weight loss

Enlargement of the lymph nodes in the neck

Asymmetric upper or lower jaw

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