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Editor's Note: A salivary gland cyst is called a sialocele, or salivary mucocele. The cause is usually unknown, but may be from direct trauma to the salivary ducts or infection/inflammation of the ducts causing duct rupture, and leading to accumulation of saliva and mucus in the tissues around the gland.
Initially, the area may be painful and swollen, progressing to a non-painful, fluctuant mass, usually under the jaw. This mass must be differentiated from a tumor or abscess. Vets can check this quickly by doing a needle aspirate - inserting a small needle in the mass and looking at the cellular components.
Sialoceles can become infected, causing pain and fever. Treatment of choice is to remove the damaged duct and gland, although some dogs do heal with time on their own.
Read more about salivary cysts in the Veterinary Q & A: Salivary Cysts
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