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Gingival Hyperplasia in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Gingival hyperplasia is overgrowth of the gingiva (gum tissue) characterized by firm, nonpainful swellings associated with the gingiva. Gingival hyperplasia is sometimes referred to as fibromatous periodontal hyperplasia.

Gingival hyperplasia is most common in large and giant breed dogs. There is a familial inheritance reported in the boxer, Great Dane, collie, Doberman pinscher, and Dalmatian


  • Familial inheritance
  • Chronic drug administration, most commonly diphenylhydantoin, nitrendipine, nifedipine and cyclosporine

    What to Watch For

  • Slowly enlarging mass or masses noticed along the gingival margin
  • Bleeding from the gums
  • Mouth discomfort in severe cases


  • Baseline tests, which include a complete blood count (CBC), biochemical profile, and urinalysis, are usually within normal limits.

  • Careful inspection and examination of the entire oral cavity is essential and may be diagnostic.

  • Biopsy of the gingiva is the only way to diagnose gingival hyperplasia definitively, although it is often not necessary or recommended.


    Treatment of mild gingival hyperplasia is rarely indicated. In more severe or chronic cases, your veterinarian may recommend the following:

  • Discontinuing drug administration if the affected individual is on one of the drugs known to be associated with gingival hyperplasia.

  • Gingivoplasty is indicated if the lesions are interfering with the patient's ability to eat, or there is associated periodontal disease. This is a surgical procedure that necessitates general anesthesia. It is meant to re-establish normal height and contour of the gingiva.

    Home Care

  • A thorough oral examination should be performed during routine check-ups to monitor for recurrence.
  • It is very important to follow the instructions given to you by your veterinarian. A soft diet and special oral rinses are often recommended for several days postoperatively.

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