Yesterday I notice my 5 years old boxer had something weird on his gum (right hand side of his mouth). At the top of this weird piece of extra gum has many little red dots.

My boxer does not complain about anything, I haven't notice an unusual behaviour like if he felt pain, he eats good and normal as always also.

What is it?

Is it just an inflammation?

Is it something dangerous?

Help me please.

Right hand side Right hand side

Right hand side Right hand side

Left hand sideLeft hand side


We notice that the little piece of extra gum (RHS) has decreased a little. Today the veterinarian said there are two little tumors in the RHS that can be treated with antibiotics for 4 days. And we'll see what happens.

  • I don't see any "little red dots" or anything I would consider unusual (except a possible absessed tooth). If you think this is a real concern, you should ask your Veteranarian's opinion.
    – elbrant
    Feb 16, 2019 at 2:32
  • @elbrant I think that's what I meant to say, abscessed tooth, the difference between the two gums, one of the right and the other the left. There is little red dots in that absessed tooth. If is it just an abscessed tooth then veterinarian intervention is not that needed, am I right? Feb 16, 2019 at 4:52
  • @elbrant Could that be also because my dog likes to "carry" rocks with his mouth sometimes ? Feb 16, 2019 at 5:01
  • Absess = infection = Veteranarian. Something may have become wedged between the tooth and gum. I still do not see any "little red dots", no clue what you are referring to, but they aren't obvious in your photos.
    – elbrant
    Feb 16, 2019 at 5:30
  • This is great news! Sounds like the issue was caused by bacteria or maybe a fungus. When we hear "tumor", we often think of malignant cancer, but the medical term really just means "tissue that shouldn't grow there". I wish you the best of luck and that your dog gets fully healed again.
    – Elmy
    Feb 23, 2019 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


To me this looks like tissue with pathological changes and you really need to see a vet as soon as possible.

The entire gums of upper and lower jaw look swollen. At first glance I thought this was a puppy with milk teeth because only the upper half of the teeth is visible above he swelling. The "second" gums look like an ulcer - a mutation of tissue that needs to be treated.

Dogs are predators and in the wild predators survive only as long as they're strong and healthy. That's why most dogs don't show pain and discomfort that is tolerable to them. But this tissue looks at least sensitive...

Please note that I am not a vet or even a doctor, but I work in the production of medical devices and gained some medical knowledge in my line of work. The red dots you see are a possible indicator of dysplasia, a pathological mutation of tissue that can develop into neoplasia (better known as cancer) if untreated.

These terms are related since they represent three stages in the progression of many malignant tumors of the epithelium. The likelihood of the development to cancer is related to the degree of dysplasia.[10]

  • Dysplasia is the earliest form of precancerous lesion which pathologists can recognize in a pap smear or in a biopsy. Dysplasia can be low grade or high grade. The risk of low-grade dysplasia transforming into high-grade dysplasia, and eventually cancer, is low. Treatment is usually straightforward. High-grade dysplasia represents a more advanced progression towards malignant transformation.
  • Carcinoma in situ, meaning "cancer in place", represents the transformation of a neoplastic lesion to one in which cells undergo essentially no maturation, thus may be considered cancer-like. In this state, epithelial cells have lost their tissue identity and have reverted to a primitive cell form that grows rapidly and with abnormal regulation for the tissue type. However, this form of cancer remains localized, and has not invaded past the basement membrane into tissues below the surface.
  • Invasive carcinoma is the final step in this sequence. It is a cancer which has invaded beyond the basement membrane and has potential to spread to other parts of the body. Invasive carcinoma can usually be treated, but not always successfully. However, if it is left untreated, it is almost always fatal.

That's why it's easy to say "it's cancer" at a glance, but what stage of cancer has to be determined in a laboratory.

As far as I understand it, the cause of dysplasia is constant stress on a cellular level. Some cells grow bigger than normal, some have a much bigger nucleus, others divide too early. All this can be examined in a histological examination.

Image source: Wikipedia

Since the blood vessels are stressed as well, they grow longer and thicker and become visible in a "punctuation" or "mosaic" pattern.

Image source: Journal Of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology

As to what causes this cellular stress, I honestly don't know. I do know that it can be caused by certain viruses or constant injury (like biting the same spot of your tongue over and over again). I assume that an allergy might cause this kind of stress, but I honestly don't know for sure.

Please ask your vet for the probable cause and a treatment plan. Maybe a treatment with antibiotics or other medication can help. Maybe a different brand of food and using stainless steel bowls for water and food can help if it's caused by an allergy. There are some cases where pets react allergic to plastic bowls.

If you treat the cause of the dysplasia, your dog can live without major problems for many years. If the cause cannot be treated, chances are high the pre-existing dysplasia gets worse and develops into malignant cancer.

  • Elmy thanks for your answer. It scares me what you say. I haven't observed carefully that the entire gums of upper and lower jaw looked swollen. I'll take him to the vet definitely Feb 19, 2019 at 2:37
  • @user178403 Sorry to scare you, but something is wrong with this tissue. It looks really strange. When you return from the vet you can share what s/he said so we'll know for the future as well.
    – Elmy
    Feb 19, 2019 at 5:03
  • The vet did a really quick review and he said it was a tumor. He also said that he'll need to make a more detailed test later so that he can say how advanced it is and what we could do about it. I truly hope he is wrong in what he said today because it wasn't a formal test, it was a not even 5 minutes of testing. Feb 20, 2019 at 3:23
  • When you say allergy, what kind of allergy could this be? I'll definitely change his diet, to a more healthy food instead of the pedigree processed food. Is plastic bows ok for food? Feb 20, 2019 at 6:49
  • Thanks for the update Elmy, I haven't notice that you updated, I was not notified. Supposing my dog has dysplasia, is this contagious to other dogs (I have another one) and to me? Feb 21, 2019 at 4:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.