When it comes to dogs and saliva, the first thing that may come to mind is drooling, which is normal on occasion. In fact, cartoons with dog characters often portray a level of drooling action.

Anything in excess, however, may indicate an underlying health issue. But apart from excessive drooling, did you know that there are other possible saliva-related issues in dogs, such as this condition called salivary mucocele? But what exactly is a salivary mucocele, and how can we handle the situation?

According to The Veterinary Manual research salivary mucocele in a dog occurs when there is swelling due to saliva that collects and leaks from one of the dog’s salivary glands to the tissues surrounding it. Typically, they are soft and aren't painful, unless a secondary infection occurs.

The types of salivary mucocele include cervical mucocele, ranula mucocele, zygomatic mucocele, and pharyngeal mucocele. Although rare, pharyngeal mucocele, or the type of mucocele where saliva collects at the throat, may cause difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Stop Googling - Ask a Real Vet


  1. What Are the Signs of a Salivary Mucocele in Dogs
  2. What Causes Salivary Mucocele in Dogs
  3. How to Treat Salivary Mucocele in Dogs
  4. How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment
  5. FAQs
  6. Conclusion

What Are the Signs of a Salivary Mucocele in Dogs

Salivary mucocele dog symptoms may include one or several of the following:

  • Swelling below the tongue;
  • Neck swelling;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Swallowing difficulties;
  • Secondary bacterial infections;
  • Blood in saliva;
  • Fever in the presence of a bacterial infection.

Salivary mucocele symptoms in dogs also depend on where the saliva is accumulated. In the condition’s acute phase, there may be swelling and tenderness in the affected area due to the inflammatory response.
This may not be noticed at first since it starts to develop as a non-painful and slowly growing mass.

Signs depending on the type of salivary mucocele:

  • Cervical mucocele - Saliva collects in a dog’s upper neck or under or between the jaws. This is the mucocele type that is most common.
  • Ranula mucocele - Also a common type, saliva accumulation occurs under or beside the tongue. This may not be noticed until it becomes traumatized, causing it to bleed.
  • Zygomatic mucocele - A rare type of mucocele, this occurs when the saliva accumulates around the eye.
  • Pharyngeal mucocele - Another rare type of mucocele, this happens when saliva accumulates behind the throat. This can exhibit symptoms of airway obstruction.

Monitoring your dog for any symptoms may help in early detection and successful treatment. Cue in the Petcube Cam 360, a pet camera that helps you closely monitor your pet, even during times when you are away from the house. For one thing, it has an HD live-streaming video with a 360-degree pan-tilt rotation view and a 105-degree wide-angle view. Not to mention, you can also zoom into the details with its 8x digital zoom feature.

What Causes Salivary Mucocele in Dogs

The exact cause of salivary mucocele in dogs usually cannot be determined. While all dogs may be susceptible to salivary mucocele, there appears to be an increased occurrence of the condition in dog breeds such as German Shepherds, Dachshunds, Poodles, and Australian Silky Terriers.

On the other hand, other possible causes include trauma to the salivary glands, an inflammatory blockage, or a rupturing of the capsule or duct of the salivary gland involved.

Having a Petcube Cam to help you look out for your dog may prove beneficial. Apart from its HD video and innovative features, it also gives you access to an online vet service, so you can consult with certified vets at any time of the day and wherever you may be. With the service, you can ask questions about anything regarding your pet’s health and get a response quickly, saving you a lot of time.

How to Treat Salivary Mucocele in Dogs

When we talk about how to treat salivary mucocele in a dog, removal of the diseased gland through surgery is often the best option. If the mucocele is a result of a duct being damaged, one option may be to surgically make a new opening in the duct without having to remove the gland. However, it is good to know that dogs have several salivary glands in their mouths, so the removal of one may not cause a major change in the production of saliva. In some cases, several surgeries may be needed to make sure that all diseased tissues of the salivary gland are removed.

Draining the mucocele to lessen the pressure on the face or neck may be done, especially when the mucocele is so large that it causes a disruption in the dog’s daily activities such as eating, swallowing, drinking, or breathing. Note, however, that almost all drained mucoceles will be filled up again, so draining is just a temporary fix.

If a secondary infection occurs, antibiotics may be prescribed. Meanwhile, if there is increased inflammation and pain, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed by their vet.

The majority of pets who undergo surgery to treat salivary mucocele do really well and recover without any complications. Recurrence after a successful surgery is not likely to occur.

How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment

In severe cases of salivary mucoceles, such as when it causes an obstruction in a dog’s airways, it is important to bring them to the vet immediately for the possible surgical removal of the salivary gland involved.

If you don’t have a financial net, the vet expenses involved in emergency treatment can be overwhelming, to say the least. This is why ensuring support for emergencies is important to make sure that your pet is given the treatment that they need without taking a toll on your finances and mental health.

The Pet Emergency Fund is an alternative to pet insurance that offers all of this and more. Without discriminating based on age, breed, or medical history, the Pet Emergency Fund provides up to $3000 annually for up to six pets. They pay the vet clinic or pet hospital directly, so you won’t have to worry about having to shell out cash for treatment. You are also given moral and professional support through on-live vet service, allowing you to talk with certified veterinarians for first aid guidance and emergency triage. With the Pet Emergency Fund, you get the peace of mind that you need during pet emergencies.

If you’re ready to invest, we are offering a deal you wouldn’t want to miss. As an exclusive discount for our blog readers, you may click here for 27% off on Pet Emergency Fund subscriptions.


Will salivary mucocele in dogs go away?

Though it develops slowly, the region where the saliva accumulates will continue to grow. It is therefore important to seek the help of your veterinarian for treatment.

Can a dog die from salivary mucocele?

Dogs that have pharyngeal mucoceles may experience airway obstruction due to the increase in the size of the mass in their throat. This can be life-threatening, as they may not be able to breathe if the mass isn’t removed quickly.

Salivary Mucocele dog surgery cost - is it expensive?

Salivary mucocele surgery has an average cost that ranges from $2000 to $5000.

Can a dog die from salivary mucocele?

If a dog has pharyngeal mucocele, it can be fatal if their airway is completely obstructed by the mass. It is therefore important to remove it immediately.


Dogs may be susceptible to a salivary gland condition called salivary mucocele. While some cases may be minor, other cases, such as pharyngeal mucocele, can be life-threatening. In all cases, treatment is necessary.

Was this article helpful?

Help us make our articles even better

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback