Swelling of the Salivary Gland in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Swelling of the Salivary Gland in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Swelling of the Salivary Gland in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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.

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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

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German Shepherd

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Six Years

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4 found helpful

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4 found helpful

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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4 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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2 found helpful

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2 found helpful

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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2 Recommendations

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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Swelling of the Salivary Gland Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$1,500

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