There are three classifications of canine salivary glands, the parotid, submaxillary (mandibular) and sublingual. These glands produce saliva necessary for proper digestion of food, cooling of the body and cleansing of the mouth. Infection can be caused by virus, bacteria, foreign objects or as a secondary infection.
Salivary mucocele occur when the salivary glands are damaged and saliva accumulates in the surrounding tissue causing painful inflammation and infection. Surgical treatment is usually required.
Paramyxovirus infection (mumps) is caused by a viral infection. Symptoms include fever, lack of appetite and swelling of the parotid salivary gland. Usually, no treatment is necessary, and most dogs recover in 5 to 10 days.
Rabies is a viral infection that passes through the salivary glands and into the brain. When the virus is present in the salivary glands, the dog can spread the virus to other mammals through saliva. There is no treatment for rabies and almost all dogs will die from the virus.
Puppy strangles is a pustular disorder that affects the face, ear flap and salivary glands of puppies. Symptoms include fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. Treatment includes cortisone and antibiotics.
Salivary gland infections are often a secondary infection caused by stomatitis (infection of the mucous membranes in the mouth), glossitis (infection of the tongue), gingivitis (infection of the gums) and periodontitis (infection of the tooth structure). Treatment of the underlying cause will usually treat the salivary gland infection as well.