An epulis is a growth, which typically arises at the gum margin.
It is the commonest oral mass in dogs, and initially appears as a small, pink lump.
It is not uncommon for more than one epulis to occur, often within a short space of time.
Technically they are classed as tumours, as each consists of cells derived from the periodontal ligament, which are multiplying out of control of the body's normal regulatory mechanisms.
In almost all cases they are benign, with very little tendency to spread elsewhere in the body. They can however, cause significant problems as they grow, purely because of the size they can reach and their proximity to teeth - which traumatise the swellings as an affected dog gnaws on chews / toys or feeds.
This often gives rise to:
- blood stained saliva
- secondary oral infections
- a reluctance to eat / chew
- loss of appetite
Removal of the tumours can be curative - but only if all abnormal tissue is removed, which may require extraction of any teeth involved. Surgery tends to be much more successful therefore, when carried out as soon as any epulis appears, and when they are small.
It is always advisable to have the diagnosis confirmed by histology, to rule out potentially more serious cancers.
As with the appearance of any tumours, it is important to provide clinically proven nutritional support to the immune system, to help the body's natural defences reduce the risk of any future cancers arising, either in the same location or elsewhere in the body.
The supplement of first choice for this is Immunity.
Adding Vitality to the diet too, provides additional aid to the white blood cells responsible for detecting and destroying cancerous cells.
To maintain quality of life for as long as possible, the best option is Vince the Vet's Cancer Support Diet.