Look inside and notice any changes that might be occuring. For those of you who brush your dog's teeth as much as you do your children's, then there may be no need to read this. You already have a handle on your canine's oral health, and therefore, in a lot of ways, health in general. Things have changed in the years since I was growing up. No one, that I knew, brushed their pet's teeth or felt the need to investigate their oral cavity back then (unless something extremely unusual was going on). Dogs were dogs, and people were people. Even if you take your canine to the vet for a regular once-a-year checkup and shots, something could pop up that you may not see without investigating further. This has happened recently with my 15-year-old golden retriever, Blossom. Folks say you can't teach an old dog new tricks....evidently you can't give old dogs hard bones either. A couple of months ago, I gave her a T-bone. She's always loved 'em, and she loved THAT one. A few days afterwards, I noticed that her nose seemed swollen on the right side. "Hmmm", I thought. "What's up with that?" She's had her teeth brushed occasionally, and always had regular yearly vet checkups. She had no problem eating and was as active as most dogs her age. Upon further investigation, I saw a THING in there, in her mouth. It was pretty large, and some parts of it looked gray. I've dealt with animals for a long time, and I thought it was an abcess (infection). Furthermore, she had three loose teeth at the same spot. Time to visit the veterinarian, so we did. He'd seen her in January 2008 for her yearly physical, and nothing at that time. Perhaps Dr.John will tell us if older dogs, or dogs of particular breeds, are prone to tumors as they age. Doc Rob said it might be a tumor. I didn't think so (didn't want to). I figured I knew quite a bit about dogs and their health problems. But it is. And a tumor as large as this one is bound to be malignant. I chose not to "send it off", pretty much knowing what the results would be. I trust Doc Rob, and when you have other children (pets in my case) to consider, and in these times the costs of caring for them...... That's the story so far. Blossom is still kickin' and eating normally. Doc Rob did remove the three loose teeth of course. He said that the looseness was perhaps caused by her chewing the T-bone I gave her, but also may be due to bone weakness caused by the tumor. Since the surgery (tooth extractions), IMO the growth of the tumor has increased. It doesn't seem much larger on the INSIDE of her mouth, but the swollen area on her nose is expanding. So Doctor, what do you think? How long will Blossom be around? I will do what is necessary when I see she is unable to eat or function normally; just wondered what your opinion is on that dadgum time scale....the one that gets us all. Thank you for your help.