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What are Lymphadenitis?

Inflamed lymph nodes are generally a sign of infection. In the case of lymphadenitis, the cause is typically of a benign nature, though malignant forms are documented as well. Abnormalities and swelling of the lymph node can result in symptoms that will alert you to the fact that there is an ongoing disease present. However, it can happen that your veterinarian will find enlarged glands that you weren’t aware of during a routine examination.

Lymphadenitis is the enlargement of one or more lymph nodes in the body. The lymph nodes, or glands, increase in size in response to the influx of inflammatory cells. 

Lymphadenitis Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,500

Symptoms of Lymphadenitis in Dogs

The symptoms that you may see in your dog (in addition to these) will most likely be related to the primary disease that is causing the gland enlargement. If your dog has swollen glands, he may exhibit signs, or appear asymptomatic even if he is in pain.

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Distended abdomen
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Excessive thirst (polydipsia)
  • Excessive urination (polyuria)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Soft, tender nodes upon palpation

Types

 

Lymphadenitis is classified depending on the extent of range in the body.

Solitary

  • A single lymph node is enlarged

Regional

  • A specific anatomical area is affected and the lymph nodes are usually interconnected

General

  • More than one area of the body is altered

It should be noted that severe lymphadenitis can extend into adjacent tissues, and can be classified as superficial or deep.

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Causes of Lymphadenitis in Dogs

There are a large number of causes for lymph node inflammation, a few of which are listed here.

Infectious

Bacterial

  • Brucella canis
  • Streptococci
  • Septicemia

Rickettsial

(frequently transmitted by mites, ticks)

  • Salmon poisoning
  • Ehrlichiosis

Fungal

  • Aspergillosis
  • Histoplasmosis

Parasitic

  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Babesiosis

Viral

  • Canine viral enteritides
  • Infectious canine hepatitis

Non Infectious

  • Drug reactions, immune mediated disorders like rheumatoid arthritis

Infiltrative

(Neoplastic)

  • Leukemia
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Mast Cell Tumor

Nonneoplastic

  • Eosinophilic granuloma complex
  • Mast cell infiltration
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Diagnosis of Lymphadenitis in Dogs

Part of the diagnosis of the lymph node inflammation will involve checking carefully for underlying disease processes. When you bring your furry family member to the clinic, be ready to relay as much information as possible in regards to the behavior of your dog in recent days.Your veterinary team will ask questions in order to learn more about the health status of your beloved pet.

  • Has your dog been eating well?
  • Does he have trouble swallowing?
  • Does he appear to be in pain?
  • Do you think he has lost weight?
  • Has his behavior changed (energy level, enthusiasm for regular activities)?

Your veterinarian will order a complete blood count and serum biochemistry, to look for specific markers that may point to illness or infection (hypercalcemia and hyperglobulinemia are common with lymph node inflammation). A test called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) will analyze and identify tissues. 

She may want to perform radiographs of the chest, neck, and abdomen, especially if she has been able to locate any glands that are swollen. An ultrasound can prove to be a good diagnostic tool as well since it can give a good view of organs that may be affected.

A fine needle aspirate, or needle core, partial, or excisional biopsy may be done for further investigation into the inflammatory origin.

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Treatment of Lymphadenitis in Dogs

The therapy for lymphadenitis will depend on the cause. Antibiotics, antifungal medications, and anti-inflammatories will be prescribed as required. Surgery  and radiation in the case of neoplastic inflammation will be more involved, with regular follow up appointments needed to verify if the cancer is being eradicated.

Because the root of the problem can vary extensively, your veterinarian will discuss with you the various options or therapies required to best get your pet back to a normal state of health.

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Recovery of Lymphadenitis in Dogs

The recovery of lymphadenitis will depend completely on the response that your dog’s system has to the therapy. The age of your pet, the current health condition he is experiencing, and the type of infection that he is facing will all impact the recovery process.

Always complete any medicinal prescriptions that your veterinarian has prescribed, even if your pet appears to be getting better. Keep all follow up appointments as well, because many types of lymph node inflammation need careful monitoring to assure that they are being thoroughly dealt with. In addition, your dog may need concurrent medical attention in pursuance of a therapy for underlying conditions that may be contributing to the inflammation.

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Lymphadenitis Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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Lymphadenitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Chihuahua

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lymph Nodes Huge On Bith Sidez Of Neck

My lil girl cut a bad cut on her front leg while in the yard running and playing approx 4 days ago. I don't know what sliced her open but it has to b sharp bcuz it sliced deep and about a good 0length of my finger. I got the bleeding under control and giving her one ibprofen. It seemed to b heeling just fine as she's not complained or slowed down much at all.. Now tonight as I was getting her ready for bed I seen the huge knot with the left side a lot bigger then the right side. She's still eating normal, don't seem to b running a fever, activities normal. Infection from cut I'm sure

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I think you are probably right, and the wound is probably infected. There are a lot of really bad bacteria in soil and things that are in the yard. She may become septic if she is not treated, and it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine her, see what might be going on, and give her medication so that she is able to heal. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 7, 2020

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Australian Cattle Dog

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Sore Throat, Fever, Not Eating, Depressed

Our dog was coughing, gagging, and would hack a week before today. 2 days ago she would whine and wince when touch her esophagus and still will. There is also swelling on the right side of her neck along with a fever. Normally she would have moments of her hacking and gagging throughout the year, I would massage her throat and she would be fine. I don't know if it's an emergency yet or not. She has a fever of 103.4, not a huge fever but above normal.

July 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm not sure that I would call this an emergency at this point, as it has been going on for a week, but I do think it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as you can. They will be able to examine this area of pain, see what might be going on and what is causing the problem, and get treatment for her before it gets worse. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 30, 2020

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Luna

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Pit bull mix

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9 Weeks

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination
Distended Abdomen

We got our sweet Luna when she was 6 weeks. I took her to the vet Monday. She got her first round of shots and she also had worms so she got dewormer. I was told to give her 1ml every day for three days! That finished Wednesday! Tonight I noticed her lymph nodes in her neck are swollen. I can actually see it. She’s acting completely normal. Playing and eating and drinking. I feel like she’s been urinating a lot today! We’ve had more accidents inside. We can take her out and 15 minutes later she’s going again inside. Her belly is a little distended. She has been having normal bowel movements.

Sept. 14, 2018

Luna's Owner

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Lulu

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Enlarged Lymph Nodes

5 days ago my staffy x was bitten on the neck by another dog and she was left with a small hole in her neck just behind her left ear. I took her to the vet and they flushed the wound and prescribed her with some antibiotics and anti inflammatories. I have just noticed her glands on both sides of her neck are swollen, could this be a reaction to the medication or something more serious?

Sept. 11, 2018

Lulu's Owner

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Ollie

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Shih Tzu

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10 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Enlarged Lymph Nodes

I have a 10 year old male Shihtzu-Maltese mix. He’s very energetic and playful. Recently I discovered the lymph nodes on both sides of his neck were slightly enlarged. His behavior hasn’t changed a bit, he’s been eating well and shown no signs of sickness other than sneezing a little more than usual. I took him to the vet and they think he has a sinus infection because she noticed his eyes were also slightly red. Other than that his check up went well and she said he was in good health. He was prescribed antibiotics for 10 days. With 4 days left of his medicine his sneezing has stopped but his lymph nodes are still enlarged, same size they were before I took him in. Should I be worried?

Aug. 29, 2018

Ollie's Owner

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Fred

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Shih Tzu

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Twelve Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hacking, Enlarged Nodes

I found an enlarged lymph node while petting my Shih Tzu. He occasionally hacked, was itchy, otherwise seemed fine. The vet did a biopsy, examined it herself, and sent to a lab. The only diagnosis was that it was "reactive" and he was put on a two-week course of antibiotics. At the two-week follow-up I told her the node seemed larger and more firm. She again did a needle biopsy, told me he had such advanced lymphoma that he had 2-4 weeks to live and put him on prednisone. Within a day he had developed more lumps. Within a couple of days the secondary lumps were gone. Now all palpable lumps are gone. His appetite is good, his energy level seems normal. It's been 19 days and I can discern no symptoms. Is this normal for lymphoma when a dog supposedly has less than two weeks to live?

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Tino

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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12 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

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As Above

Lucy,the rotweiler aged 9,was taken to the vet after 3 weeks of sickness....white gums,stopped eating,lethargy,vomiting She was put down after 2months The other dog Tino,a bull terrier, since then has been not right, unsteady on legs,weak,white gums,very swollen lymph nodes,.... We were recently told that someone had been poisoning tennis balls and throwing them into our garden....its true a lot turned up and the dogs chewed themjust before their sickness stories began. Its now 9months later. We still have one of those balls , who wld test it for us.the rspca? How can tino be tested so long after the event but still sick, not so well anyway. Yes we know who was accused of this animal abuse......

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Kash

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Pit bull

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5 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Hi All, I am trying to stay optimistic regarding our dog’s current condition. Kash is a 5 year old pit bull and he was a strong, very energetic and has a big appetite up until a month ago. He stopped eating even his most favorite treats, and has been extremely lethargic, and had started drinking from the toilet bowl (it never happened in the past before) and has also been vomiting here and there. Prior to this sudden and obvious symptoms, he had an extreme skin infection and had bad episodes of rashes, skin lesions on his belly, ears, and legs etc. we finally were able to heal his skin conditions without taking him to the vet but when he completely stopped eating for 3 days straight, we took him to his vet with urgency. The vet said it could either be an infection or lymphoma due to the fact that his lymph nodes all over his body were swollen. They prescribed an antibiotic for two weeks and 4 doses of nausea meds to encourage eating- it did not make a difference but after 4 days of antibiotic, we felt his lymph bodes on his neck and front legs has gotten smaller but the ones on his hind legs and near his shoulders are still the same. He is still not eating at all (had to puree his food and spoon feed it to him), and is still very weak and sleeps a lot. Still trying to drink from the toilet bowl if he gets a chance, so much so that we started closing the bathroom door at all times. Please help. Any input is highly appreciated. Thank you.

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Georgie

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Retriever mix

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9 Years

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Mild severity

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Enlarged Lymph Nodes

For a couple weeks my 9.5 yr old retriever mix, Georgie, was a little finiky about what he ate. Some days he would eat normal and some days had to add high value food to his regular dog food to get him to eat. He has been finiky with his food before so didn't make a big thing about it as he was eating. Then we went camping at a campground for a weekend. The night that we got home Georgie didn't want to eat anything but finally he ate. I called the vet Monday morning and brought him in. He had an abscess on his neck, a fever, high white blood cell, and a bacteria infection in one of his ears . We don't know what caused the abscess. The vet prescribed carprofen for I think either 7 or 10 days and cephalexin for 21 days. We went back to the vet that Friday. The abscess down but the vet thought he could feel minor swollen lymph nodes. The white blood cell count went down some but not to normal. He mentioned the possibility of lymphoma but since white blood cell went down a decent amount he wanted to finish the meds and then come back. When I came back the abscess was down but he could defiantly feel the swollen lymph nodes. He did a needle biopsy and sent to the lab. The results were non conclusive but possible beginning stage of lymphoma. So few days after, last Thursday, they operated on Georgie to get a wedge biopsy to send to the lab. The lymph node had some bruising. The vet called me and I told him that I have seen Georgie scratching that area a few times over the last few days. He did a blood clot test to make sure which came up negative. Vet sent it to the lab and started Georgie on prednisone. The results came back that they could not find anything conclusive of lymphoma but can't say for sure.They did notice the swelling. They said they would test a different section of the biopsy but haven't received results yet. Meanwhile I told the vet that his lymph nodes seem to have gone down to about normal (5 days after starting prednisone). He had us come in and he confirmed that the lymph nodes went down to about normal (5 days after starting prednisone). While waiting for the retest of the wedge biopsy we did a full tick disease test that came up all negetive. A little enlargement of his lymph nodes came back but not too much. We added 250mg Ciprofloxacin twice a day for 5 days and rechecked white blood cell count. They went up slightly but did not come down so we stopped the ciprofloxacin. We also sent an extra slide the vet had from the needle biopsy to a different lab and they couldn't give a definitive answer. They did also mentioned the swelling and recommended to do a PARR test. It was ordered yesterday. We can't do a new biopsy to test as he is on prednisone. The vet is pretty sure that it is lymphoma but i don't want to start chemo until we know for sure. My vet said that since he already started prednisone that the longer we wait to start chemo the less effective the chemo will be. Is there anything else you think it could be other than lymphoma that we should be testing for in case the tests come up negative or inconclusive? When we first brought him in for the abscess he had a fever but hasn't had a fever since the abscess going away. From the beginning his appetite wasn't good but if added high value foods like chicken to his regular food he would eat. The last 5-6 days he has been eating as he normally would. Any advise to what else we could test for in case the other tests come up negative or non inclusive for lymphoma would be much appreciated!

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Trixie

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Chihuahua and Papillon

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17 Years

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Moderate severity

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Congestive Breathing, Coughing

We have had this sweet girl for about 10 years. We found out 1 year ago that she had a thyroid desease and started giving her medicine for this. She has been doing well until last month she showed trouble with her breathing. Took her to the vet and he told us she had congestive heart failure and an enlarged heart. To have tested by a specialist and if confirmed can put her on medication. We found out that even with medication it doesn't cure. It might prolong life or could also get worse. We decided not to get anything further because of the cost. She has difficulty breathing during day and night. Today we noticed she has a mass in her throat. She does have difficulty eating, coughing and not always eating all of it. Sometimes panting with her tongue hanging out. Does this mean she is in pain? How can you tell if they have pain or discomfort?

Lymphadenitis Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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