Dog Drooling and Salivary Gland Problems
The dog has four pairs of salivary
glands that drain into the mouth. Only the parotid gland, located below the
dog’s ear on the side of the face, can be examined from the outside. The
salivary glands secrete an alkaline fluid that lubricates the food and aids in
Some degree of drooling is normal in dogs,
particularly in breeds with loose, pendulous lips. Excessive drooling is called
hypersalivation. Hypersalivation is commonly triggered by psychological events
such as fear, apprehension, and nervous anxiety, as well as
anticipation of food treats.
Drooling also occurs in response to mouth pain caused by periodontal disease, abscessed
teeth, and stomatitis. A dog
who drools excessively and acts irrationally should be suspected of having
rabies. Distemper, pseudorabies, and
heat stroke are other diseases
associated with drooling. Another common cause of drooling is motion sickness.
Tranquilizers cause drooling, as do many poisons. When a dog drools for no
apparent reason and appears healthy, look for a foreign body in the mouth.
Treatment:This depends on the cause of the drooling.
Salivary Gland Cysts, Infections, and Tumors
The salivary glands can be injured as a result of fights and lacerations of the head and
neck. The damaged duct or gland may leak saliva into the surrounding tissue,
forming a fluid-filled cyst called a mucocele. This occurs most often in the
mandibular glands, located in the floor of the mouth. Mucoceles in this
location are known as a honey cysts or ranulas. A ranula
presents as a large, smooth, rounded swelling in the floor of the mouth on the
right or left side of the tongue.
Mucoceles cause problems when they become large enough to interfere with
eating or swallowing. If a needle is inserted into the swelling, a thick,
mucuslike, honey-colored material is extracted. This may eliminate the problem,
but more often surgery is required. It involves draining the cyst into the
mouth. If this is not successful, the salivary gland can be removed.
Salivary gland infection is uncommon. Most cases are associated with
preexisting mouth infections. The zygomatic gland, located beneath the cheek
bone, is the gland most often involved. The signs of zygomatic gland infection
are a bulging eye, tearing, and pain on opening the mouth. Treatment involves
removing the gland.
Tumors of the salivary glands are rare. Most are malignant. They appear as
slowly enlarging lumps or masses located beneath the tongue or on the side of
the face. Small tumors can be cured with surgical removal.