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If you are wondering whether dogs have an Adam's Apple, most likely it stems from just plain curiosity, or perhaps you have felt a concerning lump on your dog's throat and you are hoping it's just a normal component of your dog's anatomy. 

While dogs and humans share many similar anatomical parts, there are also several differences.

 For instance, in a previous post we have explored how, unlike humans, dogs don't have an appendix, and how dogs also lack a fully developed collarbone.

So do dogs have an Adam's apple of not? Let's first start by defining what an Adam's Apple really is and what functions it carries.

 After exploring these important facts, we can then more accurately evaluate the presence or absence of this body part in dogs.

So What's An Adam's Apple Exactly?

An Adam's Apple, medically known as "laryngeal prominence," is defined as being a distinct rounded lump or protrusion that is commonly present in the human neck.

Many may not know that this bump is actually an angle formed by thyroid cartilage (a type of soft bone) surrounding the larynx, also known as "voice box."

The term "thyroid cartilage" is used because the Adam's Apple sits right on top of the thyroid gland.

An Adam's Apple is particularly prominent in adult males, starting from puberty since it forms as a result of hormonal changes. Prior to puberty, both girls and boys have similar larynxes, but once puberty hits, the larynx begins to grow.

Indeed, this structure is believed to play a role in giving boys’ deeper voices. A larger larynx after all, is likely to produce deeper sound, considering that, it allows more room for the vibrations to resonate!

An Adam's apple in humans is a secondary sex characteristic in males. Intrigued? Discover more about sexual dimorphism in dogs!

Did you know? Men with a larger Adam’s apple tend to have a deeper voice compared to men with a smaller one.

What's the Function of an Adam's Apple?

But what's the primary function of the Adam's Apple? According to research, the cartilage forming the Adam Apple's is believed to carry a protective function, acting as a protective shield.

This helps reduce the chances for injury to the vocal cords, which lie immediately behind it.

Did you know? The word "Adam's Apple" is thought to have been inspired to when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden and were told to not eat the forbidden fruit (an apple).

Tempted by a serpent, Eve decided to eat the fruit and offered some to Adam. The term Adam's Apple was therefore given to the neck protuberance as a reference to the forbidden fruit being stuck in Adam’s throat.

 The Fall of Man painting by Rubens

The Fall of Man painting by Rubens

Do Dogs Have a "Voice Box?"

Before evaluating whether dogs have an Adam's Apple, it helps knowing whether dogs have a voice box.

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 Since dogs don't talk, one would assume there is no need for having a voice box, but we cannot deny that dogs do make vocalizations and even lots of them too! 

Whining, yipping, growling and then you have many different types of dog barking.

Dogs do have a voice box, explains veterinarian Dr. Gabby. Their voice box, just as in humans, sits in the front of the neck below the chin.

So Do Dogs Have an Adam's Apple?

The answer is not that straightforward, so let's say yes and no. 

No, because although dogs do have a voice box, it doesn't stick out as it happens in humans. Dogs therefore lack the typical protuberance, meaning that the "Adam's apple" won't stick out in the way it does in human males.  

In other words, a dog's larynx, and the anatomy that makes it, doesn't protrude as much as in humans. Therefore, you won't strikingly see the Adam's Apple in a dog as you would in a male human. A dog's fur also further makes it more difficult to spot.

Yes, because dogs do have the cartilage that in humans is forming the Adam Apple's. It's indeed a common feature of all mammals. Dogs, cats, and even certain women have it. 

More specifically, if we look at a dog's thyroid cartilage anatomy that would coincide to the human anatomy, we will notice some similarities. 

According to Miller's Anatomy of the Dog, a dog's thyroid cartilage, which is the largest cartilage of the larynx (voice box), is U-shaped and consists of two laminae that meet and fuse in the middle of the laryngeal prominence, which is where the Adam's apple is located in humans. 

You may not see the Adam's apple in dogs, but you may be able to feel it. It would feel like a firm structure toward the top, center of the dog's neck, explains veterinarian Dr. Kara. In this picture, look at the part labelled "thyroid cartilage."

If Not an Adam's Apple, What's that Lump?

If you have identified a lump in your dog's throat area, you are better off having your vet check it out rather than chalking it up to some unusual anatomical feature.

The lump may be something as innocent as a fatty lipoma, to something malignant such as cancer. 

Not all tumors though need to be necessarily cancerous. Lipomas are common benign tumors in dogs and they appear as movable masses under the skin that can be found on many parts of the dog's body. 

Many lipomas don't require removal, but some other types of benign tumors may do. Surgery for benign tumors mostly aims to remove the tumor from the body without harming surrounding tissues.

If your dog has an unusual bump on his throat area, your vet is the best person to determine what may be going on. By palpating your dog's larynx, the vet may detect the presence of any deformities caused by the presence of masses or foreign bodies.

Ultimately, the only way to know for sure what that mysterious lump or bump may be is to obtain a fine needle aspiration, a quick and painless procedure where a needle is inserted into the lump and its collected cells are placed on a microscope slide and then sent to a pathologist for a close evaluation.

If you therefore notice an abnormal lump in your dog's throat, the sooner you report it to your vet, the better for your dog.

References:

Lahunta, A. d., Evans, H. E. (2013). Miller's Anatomy of the Dog - E-Book. United Kingdom: Elsevier Health Sciences.

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