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.
No specific treatment is usually required. If your dog has become dehydrated due to vomiting, diarrhea, or because it has been too weak to drink water, it may need to be given fluids, either under the skin (subcutaneously) or intravenously (IV). If your dog has a critically high fever, it might be given medication to help bring the fever down, but generally, moderate fevers are left alone and allowed to run their course.
Living and Management
Your dog will recover from a mumps infection in five to ten days. During this time, follow your veterinarian’s advice and make sure that your dog drinks plenty of water and continues to eat. If your dog is having trouble eating and needs special food to entice it to eat, you may want to offer it special (healthy) foods that are easy to chew and keep down until the dog feels better. For example, soft foods or select people foods. Your veterinarian can advise you to what is appropriate.
It is very important that you first ask your veterinarian before you give your pet any human medicines to help with the fever, as some medications can be toxic to your pet.
Do not allow your dog to come into contact with people who are infected with the mumps virus.