Excessive Production of Saliva in Dogs
Ptyalism in Dogs
Ptyalism is a condition characterized by the excessive flow of saliva, also referred to as hypersalivation. Pseudoptyalism (i.e., false ptyalism), on the other hand, is the release of excess saliva that has accumulated in the oral cavity. Saliva is constantly produced and secreted into the oral cavity from the salivary glands. Production of saliva increases because of excitation of the salivary nuclei in the brain stem. The stimuli that lead to this are taste and touch sensations involving the mouth and tongue. Higher centers in the central nervous system can also excite or inhibit the salivary nuclei. Lesions involving either the central nervous system or the oral cavity can cause excessive salivation as well. Diseases that affect the pharynx, esophagus, and stomach can also stimulate excessive production of saliva. Conversely, normal saliva production may appear excessive in animals with an anatomic abnormality that allows saliva to dribble out of the mouth, or are affected with a condition that affects swallowing. Ingestion of a toxin, a caustic agent, or a foreign body can also lead to ptyalism.
Young dogs are more likely to have a form of ptyalism caused by a congenital problem such as a portosystemic shunt. Under normal conditions, the portal vein enters the liver and allows toxic components of the blood to be detoxified by the liver. When a shunt is present, the portal vein is inappropriately connected to another vein, which causes blood to bypass the liver. Yorkshire terriers, Maltese, Australian cattle dogs, miniature schnauzers, and Irish wolfhound breeds have a relatively higher incidence of congenital portosystemic shunts. Enlargement of the esophagus is hereditary in wirehaired fox terriers and miniature schnauzers, and familial predispositions have been reported in the German shepherd, Newfoundland, great Dane, Irish setter, Chinese shar-pei, greyhound, and retriever breeds. Congenital hiatal hernia has been recognized in the Chinese shar-pei. Giant breeds, such as the St. Bernard and the mastiff, are known for excessive drooling.
Symptoms and Types
There are many different causes for excessive salivation. You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, including vaccination status, current medications, possible toxin exposure, a background history of symptoms, and any other possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition. Your doctor will need to distinguish between hypersalivation associated with a condition that is causing difficulty swallowing, from hypersalivation associated with nausea. Depression, lip smacking, and retching are some of the signs your veterinarian will look for. Your doctor will also want to give your dog a complete physical examination, with special attention paid to the oral cavity and neck, along with a neurologic examination. Diagnostic tools may include x-ray and ultrasound imaging to determine whether there is a problem in the structure of the liver, or in any other internal organs. If an immune-related disorder is suspected, your veterinarian may also want to conduct a biopsy of tissue and cells.
Excessive salivation at the mouth
A cavity in the mouth where the respiratory systems and gastrointestinal systems come together
A bundle of fibers that are used in the process of sending impulses through the body
A treatment of certain neoplasms that is administered using an x ray
Something that is related to the whole body and not just one particular part or organ
Any disorder of the neurons that may be characterized by rolling, circling, falling, etc.
A condition of having only one side
Having to do with dead tissue
A medical condition in which the mouth becomes inflamed
To slow something down or cause it to stop
A disease of the brain of any type
Condition in which eating and/or swallowing is difficult
The part of the brain that contains the medulla oblongata and other vital portions of the brain.
The tube that extends from the mouth to the stomach
The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine
The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.
The condition of having a part of a body part protruding through the tissue that would normally cover it
Referring to the liver
The term for the nostrils and muscles in the upper and lower lips of an animal; may also be used to describe a type of tool used to keep an animal from biting
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