Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia) in Dogs

Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia) in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
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Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia) in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

What is Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia)?

The lymphatic system has various functions. Normally, it carries waste from tissues to the bloodstream, absorbs fats after digestion, and provides an immune defense to several areas of the body. With the disruption caused by lymphangiectasia, the usual function of drainage is disrupted and the proteins, fats, and white blood cells leak into the intestinal tract. The benefits which are normally realised are lost in the process, resulting in a life-threatening illness.

Lymphangiectasia is an intestinal disease whereby the lymphatic fluid of the body is leaked into the gastrointestinal tract. The condition results in a loss of protein from the body and can lead to your dog becoming seriously ill.

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Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia) Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,500

Average Cost

$950

Symptoms of Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia) in Dogs

Some of the signs of lymphangiectasia can be intermittent. Do not assume that your pet is feeling better because of the lack of consistency in the symptoms. If your pet is exhibiting any of the following signs, a visit to the veterinarian is warranted.

  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fluid accumulation in tissues of the limbs (peripheral edema)
  • Fluid in the pleural space (ascites)
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Cough

Types

Primary

  • Congenital, possibly due to abnormal lymphatic vessel development

Acquired

  • Occurs later in life, perhaps due to an obstruction of the lymphatic outflow or venous hypertension
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Causes of Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia) in Dogs

The reason for this condition is not fully known and cannot always be determined with each case. Some of the causes for the lack of outflow of lymphatic fluid, whether congenital or acquired, are thought to be the following:

  • Inflammation of the intestine
  • Right sided congenital heart failure
  • Obstruction of vessels in the thoracic duct
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Dilation of the blood vessels
  • Breeds predisposed are Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, Norwegian Lundehund, Maltese, Shar Pei, and Rottweiler
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Diagnosis of Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia) in Dogs

Intestinal tract disorders are usually diagnosed through the process of elimination of other diseases that have the same presentation. For example, hypoadrenocorticism could account for the distended abdomen that may be obvious in your dog. Heartworm disease could be suspected, as could hypoalbuminemia, which causes changes in the protein levels in the blood. Food allergies, irritable bowel disease and cancer are other diseases that your veterinarian will rule out by process of elimination.

Your veterinarian will begin with a physical examination that will include palpation of the lymph nodes to look for enlargement or the presence of a mass that could be causing an obstruction. The abdomen will be checked also, for masses that may explain the distention. A urinalysis and fecal smear will be standard procedure, in order to determine if there is bacteria or parasites causing the illness.

Other diagnostic tests that will be performed are a complete blood count and biochemical verification of the blood. Thoracic radiographs will evaluate the condition of the heart, and verify if there is any fluid accumulation. An ultrasound may show if there are visible abnormalities in the organs. An electrocardiogram will check for heart disease. Endoscopy or laparotomy are other tests that could be done, but the laparotomy is known to be a procedure that has a high occurrence of postoperative complications. Additional tests that can prove to be valuable to the diagnosis are the fine needle aspirate, whereby the fluid that is withdrawn is examined under a microscope. A biopsy of the gastrointestinal tract can show tissue changes or damage.

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Treatment of Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia) in Dogs

The treatment will depend on the condition of your dog when he arrives at the clinic. In order to stabilize your pet, anti-inflammatories and diuretics may be administered to reduce inflammation and control fluid build up.

Diet will be a very important part of the treatment because due to the lymphangiectasia, your dog is most likely already malnourished from loss of nutrients in the intestine. A combination of corticosteroids and strict dietary changes will be prescribed. The steroid (most likely prednisone), in combination with a highly digestible diet will be a lifelong change necessary for your pet’s well being. Restoring protein levels is key to recovery, as is limiting the amount of inflammation in your dog’s intestinal tract.

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Recovery of Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia) in Dogs

Because of the changes that must be so carefully be followed and maintained even though there is no cure in sight, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Your veterinarian can prescribe the proper food regimen required to keep your pet as healthy as possible. Do not change the diet without discussing it with the veterinarian first, and voicing your concerns or reasons for the change. Medication, in the form of a low daily dose, could be a needed drug protocol for life. Remission of a few months to a few years is possible.

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Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia) Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,500

Average Cost

$950

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Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Mickey

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Border Collie Britt

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

My dog has protein, blood, transitional cells,, a few crysatals, and sediment in his urine. His albumin moves up and down, from almost critically low to low normal. He coughs quietly, makes a snapping sound with his mouth, has poor appetite. He is taking temerolP, which helps his appetite. He groans at night. One of his eyes has has a runny discharge that started two weeks ago. Yesterday he peed twice inside, which is very unusual for him. This constellation of symptoms has been occurring for three months. What do you think it is?

Dec. 10, 2017

Mickey's Owner

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1 Recommendations

From your description, I would be looking at the kidneys in more detail to see if there is any tumour or structural anomaly which may account for the presence of blood, protein, transitional cells and crystals in the urine; an x-ray of the abdomen and ultrasound of the kidneys would be valuable to look at possible causes for these symptoms. If a blood test hasn’t been done yet, that should also be carried out; I cannot give you much guidance or a diagnosis without examining Mickey thoroughly but try an x-ray and ultrasound to start with. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Dec. 11, 2017

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Max

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Jack Russell Terrier

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10 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Abdominal Distension

10 year old Jack Russel, presenting complaint, pleural effusion and low protein. After undergoing x-rays, blood tests and an ultrasound the diagnosis from the vets was a protein losing enteropathy caused by Lymphangiectasia. My vet told me to feed him a hydrolyzed diet, Royal Canine Ultamino. He would not eat it so vet said he could have duck or salmon. In order to get all of his pills in him we have to hide them in pieces of duck. I have another vet who told me to feed him GI low fat dog food and give him 1/2 teaspoon of MCT oil twice a day? He won't eat hardly at all? How do we get meds into him?

July 26, 2017

Max's Owner


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1 Recommendations

At this point, in order to get Max to take his pills, you may need to use a bit of gentle (if not stern) force; it can be distressing to get owners to give pills directly into their loved ones mouth and hold the muzzle up and rub their neck until they swallow, but in some circumstances it is the best course of action so that the pills at least are being taken, if done well Max will learn the routine and will be more familiar with the process. Speak to your Veterinarian about the best way to perform this. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

Neither duck or salmon are low fat proteins. Strict adherence to a low fat diet is the basis for the treatment of lymphangiectasia.

July 26, 2017

Maggie M.


Salmon is a slow and easily absorbed protein - my dog was diagnosed at 3 years old she is going on 12 years, and for a rottweiler that is amazing. That is what she eats.She has had her ups and downs, this is not a disease for the week of heart but she is still with us.

Nov. 27, 2017

Jane D.

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Intestinal Tract Disease (Lymphangiectasia) Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,500

Average Cost

$950

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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