Mouth and Throat

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The oral cavity is bounded on the front and sides by the lips and cheeks, above by hard and soft palate, and below by the tongue and muscles of the floor of the mouth. Four pairs of salivary glands drain into the mouth, the two largest being the parotid and mandibular glands.
The saliva of dogs is alkaline and contains antibacterial enzymes. There is also a normal flora of bacteria in the mouth that keep harmful bacteria from gaining a foothold. These factors reducing the frequency of mouth infections in dogs.
The pharynx is a space formed by the joining of the nasal passages with the hack of the mouth. Food is prevented from entering the respiratory tree by the epiglottis, a flap like valve that closes over the larynx as the dog swallows.

Signs of Mouth and Throat Disease

An important sign of mouth pain is a change in eating behaviour. A dog with a tender mouth eats slowly and selectively, dropping food that is particularly coarse and large. Dogs with pain on one side of the mouth often tilt their heads and chew on the opposite side. With an extremely painful mouth, the dog stops eating altogether.
Excessive drooling is common in all painful mouth diseases. It is often accompanied by bad breath. Any form of halitosis is abnormal. Periodontal disease and gingivitis are the most common causes of halitosis in dogs.
Sudden gagging, choking, drooling and difficulty swallowing suggest a foreign object in the mouth or throat.
Difficulty opening and closing the mouth is characteristic of head and neck abscesses and jaw injuries.

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These two conditions have a common cause and thus often occur together. In fact, sore throats usually do not occur in dogs as isolated infections, the way they do in people. Most sore throats are associated with infections in the mouth, sinuses or respiratory tract. They can also occur with systemic diseases such as parvovirus, distemper, herpes virus and pseudo rabies.
The signs of sore throat arc fever, coughing, gagging, pain on swallowing and loss of appetite. The throat looks red and inflamed. A purulent drainage may be seen coating the back of the throat.

The tonsils are aggregates of lymph tissue located at the back of the throat in dogs, as they are in people. They may not be visible unless they are inflamed. This generally occurs as a secondary symptom of a sore throat.
Primary bacterial tonsillitis is rare. It occurs in young dogs of the smaller breeds. Symptoms are similar to those of a sore throat, except that fever is more pronounced (over 103°F) and the dog appears depressed. The tonsils are bright red and swollen. Localized abscesses may be visible as white spots on the surface of the tonsils.
Chronic tonsillitis with tonsil enlargement is caused by persistent infection or by mechanical irritation from prolonged coughing, retching or regurgitation of stomach acid into the throat.

Salivary Glands

The dog has four pairs of salivary glands that drain into the mouth. Only the parotid gland, located below the dog's ear on the side of the face, can be examined from the outside. The salivary glands secrete an alkaline fluid that lubricates the food and aids in digestion.


Some degree of drooling is normal in dogs, particularly in breeds with loose, pendulous lips. Excessive drooling is called hypersalivation. Hypersalivation is commonly triggered by psychological events such as fear, apprehension and nervous anxiety.
Drooling also occurs in response to mouth pain caused by periodontal disease, abscessed teeth and stomatitis. A dog that drools excessively and acts irrationally should be suspected of having rabies. Distemper, pseudorabies and heat stroke are other diseases associated with drooling. Another common cause of drooling is motion sickness.
When a dog drools for no apparent reason and appears healthy, look for a foreign body in the mouth.

Canine Bowen Technique and the treatment of Mouth and Throat Problems

Conditions of the mouth and throat can be supported using Canine Bowen Technique. Bowen is used to encourage the bodies own healing and rebalancing abilities. There is an extremely useful procedure to help realign and stimulate drainage of the throat and head area.

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