Swollen lymph nodes in dogs can be a sign of many diseases and infections of tissue throughout the body. The lymph nodes are important because they filter blood and store white blood cells. They’re located in many places around the body, such as the neck and shoulder area.
When tissue in these areas suffers from a disease or infection, white blood cells increase to fight the condition, which is why the lymph nodes in the affected area become swollen. For this reason, swollen lymph nodes often the first indicator that there is something wrong in dogs’ bodies.
“Lymphadenopathy” is the term for enlarged lymph nodes, which can be caused by many conditions, and “lymphadenitis” is the term for swollen lymph nodes that are caused by infection or inflammation. If your dog’s lymph nodes seem swollen, then you must consult your veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment.
Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for swollen lymph nodes in dogs.
Symptoms Of Swollen Lymph Nodes In Dogs
Sometimes there are no symptoms of swollen lymph nodes in dogs, but often the swelling can be felt by touch beneath the jaw or around the shoulders. You might notice swelling in one of the legs or near the armpit. This can cause pain or limping.
Swelling may also happen near the groin, which can cause difficulty when dogs are defecating. This may also cause loss of appetite, nausea, and regurgitation. Dogs might also have difficulty eating or breathing if multiple lymph nodes are severely swollen.
As dogs fight off the infection that causes the swelling, they may feel lethargic or develop a fever. Depending on the area of the infection, dogs may also experience sore throats, coughing, drooling, and frequent swallowing.
If you see any of these signs, then it’s best to consult a veterinarian.
Causes Of Swollen Lymph Nodes In Dogs
There are several possible causes of swollen lymph nodes in dogs. Most often, these are not serious and don’t require much in the way of treatment, as dogs will fight off the infection on their own.
However, some causes of swollen lymph nodes are quite serious and even life-threatening. That is why it’s best for a veterinarian to determine the cause of the condition and prescribe treatment.
Here are some of the possible causes of swollen lymph nodes in dogs:
- Viral, bacterial, or fungal infection
- Allergic reaction
- Autoimmune disease
- Bone marrow infection
Treatments For Swollen Lymph Nodes In Dogs
Treatment for swollen lymph nodes in dogs depends on the cause of the condition. Some minor infections may not require treatment at all, as dogs’ bodies are capable of fighting them off without medical intervention.
For infections that do require treatments, antibiotics are usually prescribed when the cause is bacteria. Anti-fungal medications are prescribed for fungal infections.
Antihistamines and steroids may be used to treat allergic reactions, and corticosteroids may be prescribed for autoimmune diseases. Surgery and chemotherapy may be options if the cause is cancer.
During recovery, a veterinarian may prescribe a diet change to improve the immune system along with plenty of water and rest.
Has your dog ever had swollen lymph nodes? What was the cause? Let us know in the comments below!