Oral Cavity Masses

CHAPTER 77 Oral Cavity Masses

Oral cavity masses in the horse are not commonly recognized until they cause clinical signs because visibility and examination of the oral cavity are often limited without chemical restraint and use of a full-mouth speculum and bright light source. Routine, thorough, oral cavity examination as part of a horse’s semiannual wellness program is recommended to increase the opportunity for detection of subclinical disease at a treatable stage.


Tumors of the oral cavity of horses are uncommon. Clinical signs include ptyalism, halitosis, quidding, tongue protrusion, nasal discharge containing food material, dysphagia, inappetence, and weight loss. Tumor invasion of local bony and soft tissues is often advanced, and regional metastasis may have already occurred before clinical signs become apparent and prompt veterinary attention. Direct and thorough visualization of the oral cavity will reveal most tumors. Radiography can be used to determine bony involvement, and nasal endoscopy can reveal soft tissue masses on the tongue base and displacing the soft palate dorsal to the epiglottis. Definitive diagnosis requires biopsy and histologic examination. In horses with oral cavity neoplasia, submandibular lymphadenopathy may develop secondary to reactive inflammation rather than metastatic disease, so biopsy of these lymph nodes may not reveal neoplasia. Successful treatment is dependent on the type, size, and accessibility of the tumor.

May 28, 2016 | Posted by in EQUINE MEDICINE | Comments Off on Oral Cavity Masses

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