Oral Melanoma in Dogs
Oral melanoma is the most common malignant tumour of the oral cavity in dogs followed by squamous cell carcinoma and fibrosarcoma. Oral melanomas are aggressive tumours with a high rate of metastasis especially to the loco-regional lymph nodes and pulmonary parenchyma. The prognosis for dogs with oral melanoma depends on the histologic features, clinical stage and treatment used. Dogs with Stage I disease treated with surgery, with or without adjuvant radiotherapy, can achieve long term survival or even cure, whereas dogs with stage III and IV disease carry a poor prognosis. For large tumors located in the caudal oral cavity, complete surgical excision is often not possible and radiotherapy may be more appropriate. Response rates for oral melanoma treated with radiotherapy are reported to be around 80-90%. Median survival time for dogs treated with radiotherapy ranges from five to 11 months but may be influenced by both disease stage and the radiotherapy protocol used. Unfortunately, immunotherapy and chemotherapy have not been definitively demonstrated to significantly delay metastatic disease, however some efficacy of the melanoma vaccine has been reported.
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