Treating Mouth Ulcers in Dogs

dog mouth sores - dog hiding under blanket

Treating Mouth Ulcers in Dogs

Mouth ulcers are a painful oral condition that appear as sores on the gums, lips, tongue and inner cheeks. They are also known as mucositis or inflammation of the oral mucosa. Ulcers may be isolated, or they may be associated with the teeth if underlying periodontal disease is present. 

Different types of mucositis can occur involving the inner portion of the cheeks, lips, palate, tongue, and the tissue surrounding the teeth. Clinical signs of oral ulcers in dogs include halitosis (bad breath), drooling, decreased appetite, reluctance to play, and pain when opening the mouth.

Causes & Types of Mouth Ulcers in Dogs

Allergic ulcerative disease is commonly linked to eosinophilic granuloma complex disease. It is seen more commonly in cats than dogs. Red ulcerative lesions may be present on the hard palate, or roof of the mouth as well as affecting the lips. Cauliflower or mushroom-shaped masses are often present on the tongue. A goal of treatment is to address the underlying allergic cause. Common causes of allergies are environmental or specific food antigens. 

Contact mucositis occurs in areas of the oral cavity in contact with plaque or calculus covered teeth. The sores are described as “kissing lesions” from the contact of the oral mucous membrane against the plaque laden teeth. Contact mucositis is more common in small breed dogs than large breed dogs. This is likely due to small breed dogs having a higher incidence of periodontal disease than large breed dogs. 

Canine chronic ulcerative stomatitis (CCUS) is a more severe form of contact mucositis. Treatment involves addressing the existing periodontal disease with regular dental cleanings under anesthesia combined with daily meticulous dental home care by the dog owner.  Pain management is an essential part of treatment. In severe cases, full mouth extractions may be warranted in addition to immunosuppressive medication.

Treatment for Dog Mouth Sores in Castle Rock, CO

Oral ulcers in dogs are, in many cases, a treatable condition depending on the severity of the underlying cause. Diseased teeth often will lead to painful and inflamed oral tissues. Identifying the underlying cause of the ulcers, addressing diseased teeth, and providing pain-relieving medications will often provide the patient with a pain-free and healthy mouth. If your pup is displaying symptoms of mouth ulcers, our board-certified veterinary dentists at Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery are here to help. Give us a call today.