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Frequency of and risk factors associated with lingual lesions in dogs: 1,196 cases (1995–2004)

Michelle M. Dennis DVM, DACVP1, Nicole Ehrhart DVM, MS, DACVS2, Colleen G. Duncan DVM, MS3, Ashley B. Barnes4, and E. J. Ehrhart DVM, PhD, DACVP5
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  • 1 Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Animal Population Health Institute, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1601
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1601
  • | 3 Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Animal Population Health Institute, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1601
  • | 4 Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1601
  • | 5 Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1601

Abstract

Objective—To categorize histologic lesions affecting the tongue, determine the frequency with which they develop, and identify risk factors associated with their development in dogs.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—1,196 dogs.

Procedures—Diagnostic reports of lingual biopsy specimens from dogs evaluated from January 1995 to October 2004 were reviewed.

Results—Neoplasia comprised 54% of lingual lesions. Malignant tumors accounted for 64% of lingual neoplasms and included melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, hemangiosarcoma, and fibrosarcoma. Largebreed dogs, especially Chow Chows and Chinese Shar-Peis, were at increased risk for melanoma. Females of all breeds and Poodles, Labrador Retrievers, and Samoyeds were more likely to have squamous cell carcinomas. Hemangiosarcomas and fibrosarcomas were commonly diagnosed in Border Collies and Golden Retrievers, respectively. Benign neoplasms included squamous papilloma, plasma cell tumor, and granular cell tumor. Small-breed dogs, especially Cocker Spaniels, were at increased risk for plasma cell tumors. Glossitis accounted for 33% of diagnoses; in most cases, the inciting cause was not apparent. Whereas large-breed dogs were more likely to have lingual neoplasia, small-breed dogs were more likely to have glossitis. Calcinosis circumscripta accounted for 4% of lingual lesions and predominately affected young large-breed dogs. The remaining submissions consisted mostly of various degenerative or wound-associated lesions.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The frequency of lingual lesions was not evenly distributed across breeds, sexes, or size classes of dogs. Veterinarians should be aware of the commonly reported lingual lesions in dogs so that prompt diagnosis and appropriate management can be initiated.

Abstract

Objective—To categorize histologic lesions affecting the tongue, determine the frequency with which they develop, and identify risk factors associated with their development in dogs.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—1,196 dogs.

Procedures—Diagnostic reports of lingual biopsy specimens from dogs evaluated from January 1995 to October 2004 were reviewed.

Results—Neoplasia comprised 54% of lingual lesions. Malignant tumors accounted for 64% of lingual neoplasms and included melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, hemangiosarcoma, and fibrosarcoma. Largebreed dogs, especially Chow Chows and Chinese Shar-Peis, were at increased risk for melanoma. Females of all breeds and Poodles, Labrador Retrievers, and Samoyeds were more likely to have squamous cell carcinomas. Hemangiosarcomas and fibrosarcomas were commonly diagnosed in Border Collies and Golden Retrievers, respectively. Benign neoplasms included squamous papilloma, plasma cell tumor, and granular cell tumor. Small-breed dogs, especially Cocker Spaniels, were at increased risk for plasma cell tumors. Glossitis accounted for 33% of diagnoses; in most cases, the inciting cause was not apparent. Whereas large-breed dogs were more likely to have lingual neoplasia, small-breed dogs were more likely to have glossitis. Calcinosis circumscripta accounted for 4% of lingual lesions and predominately affected young large-breed dogs. The remaining submissions consisted mostly of various degenerative or wound-associated lesions.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The frequency of lingual lesions was not evenly distributed across breeds, sexes, or size classes of dogs. Veterinarians should be aware of the commonly reported lingual lesions in dogs so that prompt diagnosis and appropriate management can be initiated.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Dennis