March 2009
Dr Gerhard Steenkamp

A dog presents as a second opinion to you for a mass on the gingiva.  The owners say that the growth has been there for a few months and after the first opinion veterinarian removed it, it was fine, but is starting to grow again.  On telephoning the first opinion veterinarian he informs you that the mass was excised and not sent for histopathology as he was sure it was only an epulis.

 Epulis March 2009  


a) What is an epulis?
b) What is your prognosis for an epulis?
c) How should you approach this case?


a) An epulis is defined as:‘a non-specific term applied to tumours and tumour-like massesof the gingiva’1

b) As an epulis is not a specific entity, it is not possible to give any indication of prognosis.

c) An oral mass should always be approached by:
 Palpation of the regional lymphnodes to detect any lymphadenopathies
 Taking radiographs to detect bone involvement and the extend thereof
 A biopsy of the tissue to be sent for histopathological examination

I would consider the above as a minimum database and the rest of the work-up can be done if the biopsy results indicate a specific type of tumour.

1Dorland’s illustrated medical dictionary; 27th Edition 1988, Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders Co. p573


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