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What is Swelling of the Salivary Gland?

A salivary mucocele occurs when a salivary duct ruptures, leading to fluid collecting in the soft tissues surrounding it. This is usually seen as a soft, painless mass around the head or neck though some may occur beneath the tongue or around the eyes. The condition is treated by draining the mucocele and surgically removing the affected glands.

Swelling of the salivary gland, otherwise known as a salivary mucocele, happens as a result of a salivary duct rupturing within the mouth. As fluids accumulate outside of the gland, the surrounding tissue swells, leading to a mass around the dog's head or neck. A salivary mucocele can be treated by surgically removing the affected glands and has a good prognosis for a full recovery.

Swelling of the Salivary Gland Average Cost

From 3 quotes ranging from $200 - $10,000

Average Cost

$1,500

Symptoms of Swelling of the Salivary Gland in Dogs

The primary clinical sign of a salivary mucocele is a soft, nonpainful mass around the cervical region that gradually enlarges over time. Depending on the location of the mucocele, other symptoms may include:

  • Trouble eating or swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bleeding from the mass
  • Fever if infected
Types

There are several types of salivary mucoceles, which are categorized by the soft tissues in which saliva accumulates. Cervical mucoceles, the most common type of mucocele in dogs, occur when saliva collects in the upper cervical area or under the jaw; sublingual or ranula mucoceles occur when it collects on the floor of the mouth; pharyngeal mucoceles occur when it collects in the back of the throat; and zygomatic mucoceles occur when it collects around the eye.

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Causes of Swelling of the Salivary Gland in Dogs

A mucocele occurs when a salivary gland ruptures, leading to an accumulation of saliva in the soft tissue surrounding the damaged gland. This most commonly involves the sublingual and mandibular glands, which results in saliva accumulating in or around the neck and jaw. A rupture may be caused by trauma, such as from a bite wound or from chewing on inappropriate materials, and is more commonly seen in breeds such as Poodles and Dachshunds.

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Diagnosis of Swelling of the Salivary Gland in Dogs

The veterinarian will put your dog through a careful physical examination of your dog during the initial visit, which will include palpation of any visible masses around the head and neck. If the salivary mucocele is visible, the mass can be easily identified and differentiated from tumors, abscesses, and other cysts. The diagnosis of which can be validated by performing a fine needle aspiration of the fluid. A salivary mucocele results in a thick, ropy fluid that may be yellowish or blood-tinged.

Prior to treatment, the veterinarian may perform further tests, including a complete blood count and a urinalysis. This provides the veterinarian with an idea of your dog's overall health and ability to withstand surgery.

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Treatment of Swelling of the Salivary Gland in Dogs

The standard treatment for a salivary mucocele is surgical removal of the ruptured gland. Though aspiration may remove the fluid and reduce the swelling, this is not considered a resolution for the problem, as recurrence is likely weeks or months following aspiration.

Cervical, ranula, and pharyngeal mucoceles are treated by removing both the mandibular and sublingual glands on the affected side of the mouth, with marsupialization being additionally performed to help with drainage in cases of ranula mucoceles. Because zygomatic mucoceles involve glands near the eye, they are more difficult to address and may involve a more complicated surgical procedure.

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Recovery of Swelling of the Salivary Gland in Dogs

Following surgery, a drain may be put in place to remove fluid from the site while it heals. Most dogs are able to go home after the procedure though you'll need to provide aftercare to ensure your dog's comfort and safety. Monitor your dog's drainage, and if the wound was bandaged, change the bandage frequently so that the surgical site is kept clean.

If the veterinarian prescribes pain-relieving medication or antibiotics, administer them according to instructions. Provide your dog with a quiet place to rest during the recovery process, and make sure that he has access to fresh water. It's incredibly important to keep an eye on the wound and corresponding area for signs of infection and prevent your dog from scratching or otherwise irritating the incision.

Prognosis is typically good, and most dogs recover fully and go on to live a normal life after the mucocele has been drained and the ruptured glands removed.

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Swelling of the Salivary Gland Average Cost

From 3 quotes ranging from $200 - $10,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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Swelling of the Salivary Gland Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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German Shepherd

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Severe Salivary Mucocele

Sarge was my son's shepherd. My son passed away a few years ago and I took Sarge in. Sarge had baseball-sized lumps in his throat. He also had one under his tongue which I did not know was there until the vet discovered it. Under sedation, they drained all of the glands. However, within 2 weeks, they all came back.,.. he seems worse this time. He was antibiotics for 30 days, anti-flamatory/pain med, trazadone to keep him calm. The vet hosp told me he needed to have all glands removed... $10-$12K. I can't afford it (i spent $2000 in last few months). He is really bad now and I don't kn

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, there may not be another option for Sarge, and if he is suffering, humane euthanasia may be the best alternative. I don't say that lightly, but if he is suffering it may be best for him. It would probably be a good idea to talk to your veterinarian, let them know that the cost of the surgery is more than what you can do, and see if there are other options for him. I am sorry that is happening to him.

Aug. 4, 2020

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Lab Mix

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Twelve Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lump Cough Gagging

Ongoing coughing then gagging, thought it was reflux, gave Pepcid. Gave raw honey for sore throat. Not interested in eating today. Grape sized lump under jaw/chin, possible swollen neck. Had a clear wellness check in June. Definitely Vet tomorrow. Wondering how to keep her comfortable & what to check for or make note of for vet visit? Hope it’s not COVID!

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I can say with almost certainty that it is not covid-19, if that makes you feel better. It sounds like the coughing may be related to that lump, and your veterinarian will probably want to get a sample of that to see what it is, as well as maybe take some x-rays. They will be able to examine your dog, determine what might need to be done, and figure out what treatment might make him better. I hope that he /she feels better soon!

Aug. 2, 2020

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Golden doodle

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10 1/2

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Neck And Shoulders, Very Tight. No Palpable Lumps, Salivating

He has trouble turning his head due to swelling . Do you think it could be a cervicle mucocele? He smells like bile. I took him to the vet yesterday and she gave him pain meds and antibiotics wants to do xrays when he is out of pain

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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Hello I'm sorry to see that your pet is not feeling well. There are many reasons for neck pain including a soft tissue injury, disc disease or a cervical mucocele like you mentioned. Hopefully your pet can get some pain relief. Good luck.

Aug. 2, 2020

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English Setter

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Knot In Left Side If Face

My dog was ran over almost two years ago and has had off and on flare ups when his left side of his face swells if antibiotics aren’t given he abscess. I have been give instructions to go to a teach vet hospital to get the mass removed . Although , would you think Blue Buffalo could be causeing this ? He also get two or three hot dogs a day ...

July 17, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. While it is difficult to say what might be going on without seeing your dog, from your description, it is unlikely to be caused by food, and more likely to be caused by a chronic abscess or mass. If your veterinarian thinks that the best route for him would be to have the mass removed, I think that that is what I would do. Hopefully that will help solve all this problem for the future. I hope that all goes well for him.

July 17, 2020

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Chesapeake Bay Retriever

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Neck And Sides Of Face, Drooling Thick Mucus

We switched her food about a week ago, today we noticed her neck on both sides and both sides of her face are swollen. She can still eat drink and breathe but we gave her Benadryl earlier and it still had not gone down any.

July 11, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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Hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. If the Benadryl did not help the swelling go down, it would be best to see your vet. She may need some steroids to help decrease inflammation. Some times this swelling is due to an infection and your vet can get your dog antibiotics. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

July 11, 2020

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Quincy

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lab/pitbull

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10 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Our 10 year old Lab/Pitbull has developed a good sized rather soft lump over his right eye, which has always been kind of watery. after being on prednisone 60 mg a day, the bump has gone down quite a bit. now weaning him off the steroid, we/re down to 10 mg a day and the bump is coming back. he was bleeding a bit from his nose in the beginning.. not so much now. Aspiration showed no infection and it was a mixture of saliva and blood. it doesn't seem to bother him but I'm so worried everyday about him. I love him so much and don't want to see him in pain.. I've been to 3 vets already and had many tests.. but no CT scan. I'm hoping to avoid this. If you have any suggestion we would be so grateful to hear.

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bear

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Morkie mix

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8 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Regurgitation

Hello, my dog had severe IBD but also had swollen salivary glands. he is hypersalivating and reguring the saliva/foam. he regurges constantly. He is currently on cyclosporine and phenobarbital. Anything else we can give him? metronidazole? Benadryl?

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Buck

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schnauzer

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling

Hi there I have recently (2 weeks ago) taken out medical insurance for our dog in order for it to be in effect by the time we go on our annual holiday. I have just taken him to the parlour and they brought my attention to the fact that he has a rather large swelling at the base of his neck, which could possibly be a saliva gland. Is this life threatening if not treated straight away? Would this be classified as an accident or illness? The main reason I ask, is if the medical aid will cover it if surgery is needed, or not, since the 30 day waiting period is not over yet. Just wanting to explore my options. Otherwise he is his normal self, happy, we go for walks every morning, he has energy, appetite and no other symptoms at all.

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Captain

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Dachshund

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Mandibular Lymph Node Swollen

Mandibular gland swollen hard.Vet is having us do benadryl & antibiotics, anti inflammatory every 12hrs. We are on day 3.it has gotten smallbut still hard. He makes smaking noises like he has cotten mouth or something. Every so often.

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Pepper

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Norwegian Elkhound

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14 Years

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Moderate severity

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3 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling And Enlargement, Reoccurri

Recurring salivary gland swelling. The vet has aspirated them and said they are not life threatening but the anti bio tics are no longer working and they keep getting bigger. She is 14 so he doesn't want to remove them. Your opinion?

Swelling of the Salivary Gland Average Cost

From 3 quotes ranging from $200 - $10,000

Average Cost

$1,500