Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph in Dogs

Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
18 Veterinary Answers
Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph?

Similar to the human body, the lymphatic system is like the body’s cleansing system in dogs. It contains the lymph nodes and lymph vessels and contains lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that help guard the body against any infections or inflammations. When the blood circulates, this complex process includes the collection and transfer of a clear fluid, called lymph. Lymph is taken from the body’s tissues and then returned back into the blood via lymphatic vessels. When there is an abnormality in the lymph flow, the fluid collects and swelling occurs. Lymphedema is the common term for this disorder.

This can be the result of lymph nodes (that filter the fluid) or lymph vessels developing atypically. It can also be the result of an underlying condition that has caused an abnormality in the lymphatic system. Underlying disorders can be tumors, surgery, inflammation, or any other disorder that causes the lymph vessels to become blocked, thus inhibiting proper flow.

Lymphedema is the swelling of various tissues in the dog’s body due to fluid retention within the tissues. This is caused by an abnormality in the lymphatic system.

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Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph Average Cost

From 38 quotes ranging from $400 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

Symptoms of Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph in Dogs

When the lymph fluid is obstructed, it collects in the bodily tissues. As this occurs, swelling that is noticeable on the outside of the body can concern any dog owner. If your dog has any of the following symptoms, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian. Symptoms include:

  • Swelling of the feet and legs
  • Swelling of the abdomen 
  • Swelling of the chest
  • Any outer extremities becoming swollen (tail or ears)
  • Lameness
  • Malaise
  • Lethargy
  • Skin discoloration

Types

There are different types of disorders similar to or secondary to lymphedema that your veterinarian will check for during the examination and testing. A few of these types may also be considered a differential diagnosis that the veterinarian will have to rule out before making a definitive diagnosis of this disorder. Types include:

  • Congenital lymphedema
  • Primary lymphedema
  • Intestinal lymphedema
  • Intestinal lymphangiectasia
  • Inflammatory edema
  • Arteriovenous fistula
  • Neoplastic infiltration
  • Hypoproteinemia
  • Hepatic failure
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Causes of Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph in Dogs

Studies show that this disorder could be inherited in some breeds. Other studies show that this disorder is completely idiopathic (primary lymphedema). Secondary lymphedema causes or triggers may include:

  • Congenital aplasia
  • Hypoplasia
  • Hyperplasia
  • Neoplasia
  • Radiation therapy to the affected area
  • Trauma
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Diagnosis of Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph in Dogs

If your dog has swelling, make an appointment with your veterinarian. The veterinarian will ask questions about his symptoms and any underlying conditions. The medical professional will do a complete examination and then recommend a urinalysis and blood tests. 

The veterinarian may gently press on the swollen area to see how it responds to this; he will be looking for “spongy” feeling tissue and he will be looking for the area which is pressed to keep an indention for a short time before returning to normal.

If your veterinarian suspects your dog has lymphedema, either primary or secondary, he will take a sample of the swollen tissue and test it to be sure it is lymph fluid in the affected tissue. The veterinarian may also choose to perform a lymphangiography, which is a dye test, similar to a heart catheterization, where an imaging source can allow the veterinarian to watch the flow of the colored dye throughout the lymphatic system.

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Treatment of Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph in Dogs

Many dogs can become affected with lymphedema and usually the cases subside on their own. Lymphedema does not always have a serious effect on the dog’s health, depending on the dog and the severity of the condition. It also depends on whether the swelling is caused by a primary or secondary source. Treatment may include:

Compression

The affected tissue areas can be wrapped in a compression bandage to help reduce the swelling. The veterinarian will demonstrate how to wrap the areas and will show you the amount of pressure that needs to be applied. Heating pads on a low setting and lymphatic massage may also be options to help your pet.

Change in Diet

Since lymphedema can only be treated rather than completely cured, the veterinarian may recommend a special diet for your companion. A diet that is healthy can boost the immune system to allow the lymphatic system to do its job more effectively.

Medication

Medication to reduce the swelling or an antibiotic may also be prescribed by your veterinarian. Both may be used to help calm the swelling.

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Recovery of Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph in Dogs

Mild and localized lymphedema has a good prognosis, but this does depend on the cause and if there are any underlying disorders. If your dog has been diagnosed with generalized lymphedema, the prognosis is considered “guarded” and must be watched to see if your dog will go into remission.

Since there are many possible causes of secondary lymphedema, recovery depends on the other condition and how severe your dog’s lymphatic system has been affected. Your medical professional will give you advice and instructions on how to care for your dog during this time.

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Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph Average Cost

From 38 quotes ranging from $400 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Border Collie

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness Minor

In the last week my dog has developed a large, hard swelling on his ankle. Does not appear to be painful but has some difficulty jumping into the car. Walks and runs normally

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. As dogs age, they can develop bone and joint problems. From your description, it would be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian. They may want to take an xray and see what is causing that lump, and get treatment for him. I hope that all goes well for him!

Oct. 7, 2020

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French Bulldog

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Thirteen Years

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Unknown severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Joints

My dog has a swollen front leg. it is twice the size of her other leg. She is not in pain but she does limp alittle

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Since I cannot see her or see what might be going on, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine your pet, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them if needed.

Oct. 17, 2020

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Belgian Malinois

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Joints

My dogs left front leg has swollen up massively and is continuing to grow on the shin part of the leg. It's very tender and he's limping and not putting weight on it. It just randomly flared up, as he was walking fine 5 minutes prior.

July 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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Hello So sorry to see that your pup is painful. He may have injured his leg or having some type of infection. It is recommended that you take him to a veterinarian soon for an exam. They may want to give him pain medication and take some x-rays to see what exactly is going on. Good luck and hope he feels better soon.

July 15, 2020

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Pomeranian

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Eleven Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling

I have an 11 year old pomeranian mix that is starting to gain weight and show signs of age. A few things I have noticed lately.. He doesn't like to sit anymore, when he does sit his legs sit straight out in front of him like a humans legs would. When he lays down his less are flush with the floor behind him like a frog. He has swelling in his lower left back near his hip but doesn't yelp when I apply pressure.. He just recently started losing hair down his spine as well.

July 9, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Ellen M. DVM

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Hi there, thank you for your question. I'm sorry to hear that your dog is having some mobility issues! Without examining you dog, it is very hard to know for sure what might be going on. What you describe could be consistent with hip arthritis or knee arthritis. It could also be due to something going on in the spine such as inter-vertebral disc disease. It's hard to know whether the swelling is related - it could be a mass of some sort. I recommend having your dog examined by your veterinarian in the next few days. They can help determine where his source of discomfort is coming from, and whether the hip swelling is something to worry about. You can also ask them about pain medication and joint supplements to help with possible arthritis. Good luck! I hope your pup starts feeling better soon!

July 9, 2020

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German Shepherd

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

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Fluid Retention Feet Swelling

What can you give a dog that has swelling / fluid in their legs and feet?

July 9, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. It would be best to find the cause of the swelling, and treat that, as the swelling is likely a sign of something else. Without seeing him, it isn't possible to say what might be the problem, unfortunately, and having him seen by a veterinarian would be best. I hope that he is okay.

July 9, 2020

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Cookie

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Bluetick Coonhound

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Limping Diarrhea Swollen Leg

Hi Dr. Turner! My dog recently broke her leg over a month ago. She had a plate and screws put in and it will be a month on wed since her surgery. After her surgery the swelling went down and then started to swell up again within two weeks time. Took her back to the vet and they took an X-ray and everything looked fine. They don't know what is causing the swelling but there is also blood in her stool and it was diarrhea. I have been giving her rice and chicken and her stool is a little more solid but her leg is still swollen. She just keeps licking her leg. Why? What could it be?

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Trinity

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Pit bull mix

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10 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling
Lameness
Edema

I came home during lunch yesterday and everything was fine. Ate her food and was walking around. When I got home from work I noticed something was wrong. She usually runs up to me when I get home and I got nothing. I noticed her back left leg was very swollen from the elbow up. We have a bee hive in the back so I thought it might’ve been a sting but I still took her to the vet. They checked her out. Everything was fine. They gave her a diphenhydramine shot and then took her back to check for a stinger. When they came back they said they found pitting edema on her elbow and that when they listened closely to her heart, noticed she had a heart murmur as well. They said if she hasn’t been coughing and losing weight it should be fine. It’s a minor murmur. Gave me 20mg lasix tablets to bring down the edema. They told me if the swelling goes up and if she starts limping worse to bring her back immediately. It hasn’t gotten worse, but it hasn’t gotten better. She’s only had two doses of the lasix since it was prescribed, but now she’s not eating. I don’t know what to do or what is going on.

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buster

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Rottweiler

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5 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

Hi Dr turner , I am a CVT and had a quick question about a recent case I had experienced . We had removed a firm growth over the 3rd- 4th digit on the LH limb of a 5yr old MC rottweiler. The owners declined sending out the histopath do to cost . Post sx we placed a bandage and everything went well . About 3 days later the limb became swollen . We removed the bandage and started the pet on pred 20mg. 2 days later the limb continue to swell and has not subsided . I told the owner we need to send to histopath ASAP, but are still declining . I know that growths on the feet are usually bad news and can metastasize quickly . But just wondering what your thoughts were ? if there's anything you would do . post sx was given rimadyl 100mg , trazadone 100mg , gabapentin 300mg , cefalexin 500mg . On 9/6 after rimadyl was discontinued and started on pred 20mg. Thanks, Nicole

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Cornbread

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Pit bull

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Whining
Whining, Cant Move

my dog had a severe heat stroke the other day due to negligence from my sister-in-law. He's been at the vet for about 3 days and they were giving him fluids to keep him hydrated. They had sent him home last night and his legs and stomach are swollen. He seems to be in a lot of pain from it and can't move. How long will it take for the swelling to go down or absorb?

dog-name-icon

Shakti

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

dog-age-icon

15 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Tit, Hard, Hot For Touch

Good day. My dog within past few months developed swollen tit that became hot red and feels hard inside. You can’t really move it around. And in past week her back leg became swollen like she has edema. Doctor has an appointment available in a week. Should I rush her to emergency or it can wait. It’s hard for her to walk but she otherwise fine. Eats and drinks as normal. Being 15 years old what can be a recommendation and what should I expect from a vets visit? Thank you so much!!!! I am so afraid she will die waiting for an appointment. Please help. I have a 7 year old daughter and can’t imagine explaining this yet to her. We are not ready for our dog to die.

Fluid Retention and Tissue Swelling Due to Collection of Lymph Average Cost

From 38 quotes ranging from $400 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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