What are Oral Masses in Cats?

What are Oral Masses in Cats?

What is it?

Oral masses in cats are abnormal growths or lumps in the mouth that can be benign or malignant. They can be found on the mouth’s gums, tongue, lips, or other soft tissue. These masses may affect a cat’s ability to eat or drink and, if left untreated, can lead to complications.

How is it Treated?

The treatment for oral masses in cats depends on the type of mass, its location, and its size. In many cases, surgery is necessary to remove the mass. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy may also be used in malignant masses or if the mass cannot be surgically removed.

Breed Predispositions

There is no specific breed predisposition for oral masses in cats. Any breed or mixed breed cat can develop oral masses.


When Whiskers, an affectionate Persian cat, started drooling excessively and struggled to eat his food, his owner, Emily, became alarmed. Concerned about Whiskers’ well-being, she quickly scheduled an appointment with their trusted veterinarian for a comprehensive oral examination. During the evaluation, the veterinarian discovered oral masses, a medical condition that can affect cats of various breeds and ages.

Oral masses or oral tumors are small lumps that may be found inside cats’ mouths. They usually occur between the cat’s teeth but sometimes appear elsewhere. Sometimes they are painful to touch, mainly if they are located near the gums.

Cats often swallow these masses accidentally but can also ingest them intentionally. If a mass is cancerous and appears to be growing larger or changing shape, consult your veterinarian immediately. However, oral groups are common in domestic shorthair cats and rare in purebred dogs and cats. Most cases involve young kittens.

Oral neoplasms are a relatively common mouth cancer in cats. These tumors may form anywhere inside the mouth and may be found in the tongue, the floor of mouth (palate), gums, and teeth. Oral neoplasms can also develop on the roof of your cat’s mouth (maxilla). Most oral neoplasms are benign but may occasionally spread to other body parts. If you notice any changes in your cat’s oral health – such as swelling or appetite – take them to see a veterinarian for an examination. Squamous carcinoma is one example of oral neoplasm.

There are two main oral masses in cats: fibrous and non-fibrous. Fibrous masses tend to be soft and rubbery, while non-fibrous masses are harder and firmer. Both types of masses can affect the tongue, lips, gums, palate, cheeks, teeth, jaw bones, and roof of the mouth.

In most cases, oral masses disappear spontaneously without treatment. However, if they persist longer than two weeks, they may indicate an underlying problem such as fibrosarcoma, infection, inflammation, or oral neoplasia in the dogs and cats.

What Causes Feline Oral Masses?

There are several causes of oral masses in cats. Some are benign tumors, others are infectious diseases, and others are caused by trauma or foreign bodies.

Benign Tumors

These masses are usually soft and painless. Benign tumors grow slowly over the years and rarely cause problems. Most benign tumors are made up of fibrous tissue and are composed of cells called myofibroblasts. These cells produce collagen fibers and connective tissues. Some benign lesions of the oral are cysts filled with fluid. Others contain hair follicles, glands, or bone fragments. Mandibular and neoplastic is an example of benign tumors in felines.

Cystic Fibrosis

This condition occurs in older cats and is characterized by thick mucus production. In addition, cystic fibrosis tends to affect the upper respiratory tract, causing coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and difficulty breathing. It is thought to be inherited as an autosomal recessive trait.

Benign Tumors

Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a fatal and infectious disease affecting cats caused by a coronavirus called feline enteric coronavirus (FECV). It was first used to describe in 1966. The virus causes inflammation of the intestinal tract, which leads to fluid accumulation around the abdomen and eventually death from secondary infections.

Malignant Oral Tumor

Cats with common oral tumors in a cat are a severe health condition. Most oral tumors are malignant (cancerous) and can cause complications if they Grow large or spread to other body parts. In addition, Metastasis is a malignant tumor in cats orally; if you think your cat may have an oral tumor, please consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Cats

Oral squamous cell carcinoma (oral SCC) is common cancer in cats. It’s usually caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be spread through contact with saliva or other body fluids from an infected cat. Cancer typically starts as small, nontransparent lesions on the roof of the mouth near the teeth. As it grows, it may invade surrounding tissues and spread to other parts of the head or neck.

Oral Melanoma

Oral malignant melanoma is a cancer of the oral cavity in cats. The most common site for this type of cancer is the mouth, but it can also occur on the tongue or floor of the mouth. In cats, oral melanoma typically arises from brown patches on white teeth (periapical lesions). Oral melanomas may be significant and highly invasive but rarely life-threatening unless spread to other body parts. Treatment generally includes surgery to remove as many tumors as possible, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy if necessary.

Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer in cats

It is believed that both cancers are relatively rare in cats. Oral cancer can develop from any part of the mouth, including the mouth’s tongue, lips, gums, and roof. Pharyngeal cancer can occur from anywhere along the length of your cat’s throat (pharynx-larynx), which includes his neck, jawbone, and larynx (voice box).


It is a condition in which bacteria attack the tooth roots. The infection can lead to inflammation and even tooth decay. Periodontal disease is one of the diseases linked to odontogenic tumors that cause a problem with the teeth and gums and can occur in cats. It’s most common in older cats but can also happen in younger animals. Periodontal Disease may cause tooth loss, bone loss (from inflammation around the teeth), and ulcers on the gums. Treatment includes antibiotics to clear the infection, oral surgery to fix jaw problems, and regular dental care.


Foreign bodies lodged in the mouth can lead to oral masses. For example, coins, toys, bones, and sticks can become stuck in the cat’s mouth.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Oral masses in Cats?

Most feline oral tumors present with advanced disease symptoms, including drooling, and difficulty eating and drinking, which lead to the inability to eat. Small animals like cats who develop oral masses typically have trouble chewing food and swallowing liquids. Some owners report seeing blood coming from their cat’s mouths after eating.

Cats with oral tumors tend to lose weight over time. Sometimes, however, if you notice a mass grows large enough to obstruct the cat’s airway. When this happens, the cat may stop breathing, become lethargic, and eventually die.

Diagnosis of Feline Oral Masses

Diagnosis of Feline Oral Masses

Your vet will perform a physical exam to diagnose whether or not your pet has an oral mass. During this oral examination, they will look for signs of inflammation, bleeding, swelling, ulcers, and other symptoms associated with oral cancer. Once the doctor determines that your pet does indeed have an oral tumor, they will remove it surgically.

While oral masses can be removed surgically, several non-invasive treatments are also available. One option is laser therapy. Laser treatment uses light energy to destroy tissue cells, causing the mass to shrink over time. Another option is cryosurgery, which involves freezing the area until the tumor shrinks.

Cryotherapy is usually used to treat smaller lesions.

Biopsy of oral masses in cats is done to determine the cause and extent of the mass. The information on oral masses gathered from a biopsy will help identify whether it’s cancerous, benign, or caused by another condition.

A dental Radiograph is a type of x-ray (intraoral) that helps diagnose problems with the teeth. Dentists and other health professionals often use dental radiographs to check for tooth and gums decay, discrepancies in jawbone sizes (brachycephaly), abnormal bone growths (hormone therapy can cause this), and other conditions.

Regardless of the method, it’s always recommended to consult your veterinarian before attempting surgery.

Treatment of Oral Masses in Cats

There are three main treatments for oral masses in cats: Surgery, medication, and radiation therapy. 

Surgery involves removing the mass surgically. This is typically done under general anesthesia. The procedure takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size of the malignant tumor type.

After the surgery, the cat will likely require antibiotics for several weeks. In rare cases, surgery can lead to complications such as infection, bleeding, or even death.

Medications are used to treat cancerous oral tumors in cats. They can either shrink the feline tumor or stop it from growing. Some medicines are given orally, while others are injected directly into the tumor.

Some medications are toxic to the kidneys, so you must monitor your pet closely after the treatment of choice. Drugs aren’t always practical, though. Sometimes they slow down the tumor growth without actually stopping it.

Combined with Radiation and Chemotherapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cells. Radiation therapy is often used to treat cancers that haven’t responded to other therapies. Unfortunately, surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment has a similar prognosis; approximately two to four months, with fewer than ten percent of cats surviving one year after the diagnosis. However, feline oral masses can be treated successfully with surgery, medication, or radiation therapy. Which method of veterinary practice is best depends on the type of tumor and where it is located.

Prevention of Feline’s Oral Masses

One of the easiest preventive methods is to feed your cat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3s are found in fish oil supplements and play an integral role in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Another option is to supplement your cat’s food with vitamin E. Vitamin E promotes cell growth and prevents inflammation, which is necessary for preventing cancerous and non-cancerous growth in cells from developing into oral masses.

There are also preventive measures that you can implement yourself. One example is brushing your cat’s teeth regularly. Brushing your pet’s teeth twice a week can remove plaque buildup, preventing the formation of oral masses.

Other tips include keeping your cat indoors during cold weather and limiting his exposure to cigarette smoke. Smoking increases the risk of certain cancers, including oral masses. Also, it is essential to monitor your cats from time to time. Finally, make sure that your cat gets plenty of exercise. Exercise keeps him fit and reduces stress levels, which can contribute to developing oral masses.

Frequently Asked Questions

The price of removing a cat’s tumor depends on how giant the cancer in the cat is, where it is located, whether there are complications, and if the cat is young or old. The average cost of removing a cat’s tumor ranges from $1,000-$2,500.

A veterinarian usually removes oral tumors surgically. If the cancer is small, the surgery takes less than one hour. However, if the tumor is large, it might take several hours. First, a vet must cut through skin, muscle, fat, and connective tissue to reach cancer. This procedure requires anesthesia and stitches.

In some cases, the surgeon uses a scalpel to make cuts around the primary tumor. Then they insert a needle into the tumor and inject a chemical called an acidic solution. Caustic solution burns off the cells that surround the tumor. After this treatment, the surgeon cleans the wound and closes it with sutures.

Suppose the tumor is very close to vital organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, intestines, kidneys, bladder, or spinal cord. In that case, the surgeon must perform additional procedures before removing the tumor. For example, if the cancer is near the spine, the surgeon must remove part of the vertebrae above and below the tumor. Then they open the chest cavity and reach inside to remove cancer.

The average life expectancy of a cat with MCT is two years. However, some cats live much longer than this. Some cats live up to 10 years after diagnosis. The median survival time for all cats was 44 days, with 9.5 percent surviving one year. Cats diagnosed at younger ages do better than those who develop the condition later in life. 

A tumor can burst in a cat if there is enough pressure inside the body. The pressure causes the blood vessels to break open and the liquid inside them to leak. This happens because the cells in the tumor grow too quickly. They make new blood vessels around themselves to get more food and oxygen. But these new blood vessels only sometimes work correctly. Sometimes they become blocked and cause bleeding. If this bleeding goes on long enough, the tumor can burst.

Oral cancer progression is usually slow, often taking months or even years before symptoms appear. However, once the disease progresses, it becomes tough to treat. This means that early detection is crucial for successful treatment.

The first thing you need to consider when deciding whether your cat should get her tumor removed is what kind of cancer she has. If your cat’s tumor is benign (non-cancerous growths in a cat’s mouth), there is no reason to remove it. However, if your cat has cancer, you should consult a veterinarian specializing in feline medicine. In an animal hospital, a veterinary surgeon can determine the best treatment options for your pet.

There is no definitive answer to this question. While some cats may survive a mouth tumor, others may not make it much longer. Please consult a veterinarian if you are concerned about your cat’s health and feel that it may have a mouth tumor.

Oral cancer in its early stage may look like any other benign lesion on the mouth, such as a minor blemish or granuloma. However, if it is detected early enough, treatment with surgery and chemotherapy can often prevent full-blown cancer from developing.

This question has no definitive answer as it varies from cat to cat and depends on the cancer stage. Some cats that experience early-stage oral cancer may only suffer a few weeks or months of discomfort before eventually passing away. In contrast, others may battle the disease for several months or years before succumbing. However, most cats will succumb to oral growth cancer if not treated successfully.

A cancerous growth on a cat will often be firm and bumpy, with a yellow or red color.

Most cats do not experience pain from mouth cancer. However, some may experience soreness or inflammation in the area. If your cat experiences discomfort, you should take her to the veterinarian for an examination and diagnostic tests.

A study in the Journal of Feline college of veterinary Medicine and Surgery found that mouth tumors are common in cats. Of 232 cats with an incidence of oral cancer, 62% had a tumor at some point during their lifetime.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the severity and location of Mouth Cancer in cats will vary. However, many cases of mouth cancer can be treated with surgery or radiation therapy. If cancer has spread beyond the mouth, aggressive treatments may be noted.

Cancers in the mouth can be challenging to diagnose, as they may not cause signs or symptoms. However, your cat’s veterinarian may perform a comprehensive oral exam and take x-rays of your pet’s mouth to determine if there is a cancerous tumor in the cat with advanced stages of the disease.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.

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