The salivary glands consist of four sets of glands that make up the exocrine glands of the mouth in mammals. The parotid, submandibular, sublingual, and minor salivary glands make up this essential group that controls the production of saliva, which in turn breaks down starches into glucose for use by the body.
The parotid salivary gland is located just underneath each ear in the dog. When a dog is exposed to a person who is infected with a viral infection called the mumps, the dog may develop the same infection. This cross-over is very rare, but is known to occur occasionally. When a dog does acquire an infection, the parotid salivary glands will swell in response.
Symptoms and Types
- Lack of appetite
- Swelling below the ears, caused by parotid salivary gland swelling
Mumps is caused by a viral infection of the salivary gland located just below the ears in dogs.
You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have preceded this condition, including whether your dog has come into contact with anyone know to be infected with a virus. Your veterinarian will examine your dog by palpation (touch) to determine the amount of enlargement and precisely where the swelling is located. Once the location has been determined to be in the parotid glands, your veterinarian will order a complete blood count and biochemical profile. This will be analyzed for other diseases that might be causing the salivary glands to swell. A blood sample will also be taken for a viral antibody test, which will show whether dog has been exposed to the mumps infection, or to other infections. An aspirate collected by a fine needle will also be drawn so that the fluid in the glands can be analyzed.