How many salivary glands does a pig have in total? What are their names and where are they located?

1 Answer

There are 3 pairs of salivary glands.


Of these, we will view only the mandibular (the parotid is rather diffuse and the sublingual is too difficult to get to). To view the mandibular gland you must remove the skin and muscle tissue from one side of the face (cheek) and neck of your pig. You’ll need to dig through subcutaneous fat, connective tissue, and the parotid salivary gland in order to see it. The mandibular gland is a large, well-defined circular salivary gland just posterior to the masseter. Don’t confuse it with the small oval lymph nodes in the region. Keep an eye out for the facial nerve that runs posteriorly across the masseter. Try to find the parotid duct that carries saliva to the corner of the mouth. This duct can be moved surgically to empty out at the eyes. Until relatively recently, the standard "cure" for dogs whose lacrimal (tear) glands failed to produce the watery component of tears was to move the parotid duct up! The saliva producing glands are:

Parotid gland: a large dark triangular gland overlying part of the masseter muscle (also note the facial nerve that runs across the dorsal part of the masseter).
Mandibular gland: under the parotid gland. Not to be confused with the small oval lymph nodes in the region.
Sublingual gland: long, slender, and difficult to locate
Salivary glands produce prodigious amounts of saliva (>1 l/day in humans). Saliva contains:
water for moistening food
mucus (mucin) for lubricating food and binding it into a
bolus salivary amylase to start the breakdown of starch
bicarbonate to buffer acidic food in the mouth
antibacterial agents to kill bacteria in the mouth