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Enlarged Gums in Dogs

Gingival Hyperplasia in Dogs

Gingival hyperplasia in dogs refers to a medical condition where the gum tissue becomes inflamed and enlarged. The enlargement usually stems from irritation caused by dental plaque or bacterial growth along the gum line. Good oral hygiene practices can often prevent this condition. While gingival hyperplasia can affect any breed, certain breeds like Boxers, Great Danes, Collies, Doberman Pinschers, and Dalmatians are particularly susceptible to gum inflammation.

Symptoms and Types

  • Thickened gums
  • Heightened gum line
  • Formation of pockets in the gums
  • Inflammatory areas on the gums
  • Development of tissue mass or growth along the gum line

Causes

The primary cause of gingival hyperplasia, or gum enlargement, is typically bacteria and plaque accumulation along the gum line. If not addressed, this condition can also impact the bones and supportive structures of the teeth, leading to periodontal disease.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing this medical condition often occurs during a regular examination of the dog’s oral cavity. When a mass is detected, a biopsy of tissue from the mass is usually conducted to determine whether cancer (neoplasia) is present or not. X-ray images may also be utilized to exclude the existence of other potentially significant underlying medical issues.

Treatment

In severe instances, surgical intervention and/or deep cleaning may be necessary to rectify gingival hyperplasia in your dog. This procedure aims to restore the gum line to its original shape and eliminate any developed pockets, thereby resolving issues related to food and bacteria accumulation. Pain relief medication may be administered as necessary to alleviate your dog’s discomfort during the recovery period. Generally, dental cleaning coupled with oral antibiotics (antimicrobials) proves effective in cleansing your dog’s oral cavity and reducing gum swelling and enlargement.

Living and Management

To ensure your dog’s well-being, regular dental cleanings with your veterinarian are crucial, along with maintaining excellent oral hygiene and a balanced diet to prevent the onset or reappearance of gum enlargement. With proper treatment, animals afflicted with gingival hyperplasia typically experience positive outcomes, although relapses are not uncommon. It’s important to be aware of potential complications associated with gum enlargement, such as the formation of deeper pockets in the gums, which can promote further bacterial growth within them.

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