As a pet parent, making sure that your four-legged family member is well cared for is your top priority. Like any responsible pet parent, you go out of your way to make sure that you are offering your furry comrade everything he needs to live his best life; you take him for regular walks on a properly fitted dog collar or dog harness, you make sure that his dog bowl is filled with the highest quality dog food from one of the most trusted dog food brands, he has access to tons of plush dog toys, rope and tug toys, chew toys for dogs (and various other play things), and he has the most comfortable and supportive dog bed to curl up in and enjoy a restful snooze after a long day of exploring and playing. These are just some of the things you do for your pup, and while they’re all important, there’s something that’s even more important: paying attention to your pup’s health and understanding the signs and symptoms that indicate he is in need of medical attention – and getting him the necessary care as soon as possible.
Canines can suffer from a variety of ailments. Some breeds are affected by certain conditions more than others, and some complications tend to affect older canines. However, some medical issues can affect dogs of all breeds and all ages. One of those conditions is salivary mucocele or sialocele, more commonly known as salivary gland cysts.
What are Salivary Gland Cysts?
Canines, like many animals, have salivary glands. As you can probably guess, these glands are located in the mouth and they are responsible for producing saliva, a substance that plays an important role in digestion. The production of saliva is continuous, and as the substance is produced, it disperses throughout the mouth and travels down the throat. It helps to moisten your pup’s dog food as he eats, making it easier to chew and to swallow.
Typically, the production and flow of saliva is goes smoothly; however, issues can arise. For example, saliva can leak out of the ducts and become entrapped within other tissues throughout the mouth. There are four kinds of salivary mucoceles, which includes:
- Cervical mucocele
- Sublingual mucocele
- Pharyngeal mucocele
- Zygomatic mucocele
Cervical mucocele is the most common, while zygomatic mucocele is very rare; however, all types can affect a dog at any time, so it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and know how to treat the condition.
Symptoms of Salivary Gland Cysts
It takes a while for salivary gland cysts to develop. The glands will slowly enlarge and a mass, which is usually painless, will develop around the jaw or in the upper neck area. Eventually, the swollen glands can lead to a number of complications, including:
- Chewing problems
- Swallowing issues
- Breathing problems
Treatment for Salivary Gland Cysts
If you notice any of the above symptoms, contact your vet as soon as possible. Typically, the affected glands will need to be surgically removed; however, in some instances, drains can be installed and emptied to manage the saliva. The latter is usually not recommended, as it can lead to an infection, which can lead to even more complications.
If your furry friend does develop salivary gland cysts, together, you and your vet can make the best decision for your pooch.