Lymphedema Average Cost

From 566 quotes ranging from $1,200 - 5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

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What is Lymphedema?

Swelling anywhere on your dog can be a scary thing to see, but it is even scarier to your dog. It may not be painful, but anyone who has ever had any kind of swelling can tell you that it is a very uncomfortable and strange feeling. Most of the time, the cause of your pet’s lymphedema is caused by another illness or injury. For example, swelling of the abdomen or chest may be from cancer or heart disease, while swelling of the face, neck, or tongue could possibly be an allergic reaction.

Lymphedema is a condition described as a collection of lymph fluid in certain tissues in your dog’s body because of obstructions in the lymphatic system (lymph nodes, vessels, and organs). It is the job of the lymph vessels to absorb these fluids that leak out into your dog’s tissues from the capillaries. These vessels then send the lymph fluids back into the bloodstream, where they are able to be used in the immune system functions. The causes of lymphedema may be from a chronic illness or an acute condition such as an injury. It may also be a secondary condition stemming from another illness or it can be the primary illness. However, with a primary lymph disorder, the symptoms are usually noticed in a canine when they are puppies under two months of age. The most common and obvious sign of lymphedema is the swelling of one or all extremities or the abdomen.

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Symptoms of Lymphedema in Dogs

Lymphedema is fluid build-up somewhere on your dog’s body. It can also show other symptoms, such as:

  • Swelling of any of your pet’s legs or anywhere on the body, including the face and abdomen
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Injury anywhere on the body
  • Change in skin color
  • Refusing to eat or walk
  • Any abnormal behavior

Types

There are several types of lymphedema. The most common are:

  • Congenital aplasia – Defective or missing tissue or organ
  • Hyperplasia - Organ enlargement
  • Hypoplasia – Abnormally small tissue or organ
  • Neoplasia - Tumor
  • Radiation therapy – Cancer treatment

Causes of Lymphedema in Dogs

Higher occurrence in: 

  • Certain breeds (Borzoi, Rottweiler, Bulldog, Poodle, German Shepherd, Tervuren, Labrador Retriever, Old English Sheepdog, German Shorthaired Pointer, Great Dane)
  • Injury or burn
  • Tumors
  • Infections
  • Heart disorders
  • Compromised liver function

Diagnosis of Lymphedema in Dogs

When you take your dog to the veterinarian be prepared to explain the symptoms you have noticed and when they began. In addition, you should bring your pet’s vaccination  records and medical history if you have it. Be sure to tell the veterinarian if you have given your dog any kind of medication as well. Neglecting to do so can cause the wrong diagnosis or a bad reaction when the veterinarian gives your pet medication. An extensive physical examination will be performed first, which will usually include weight, height, reflexes, body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, respirations, breath sounds, skin and coat condition, and pupil reaction time.

The veterinarian will also need to perform some diagnostic tests, such as a chemical analysis, complete blood count, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), urinalysis, packed cell volume (PCV), liver panel, heartworm test, and a biopsy of the fluid from the affected area. Also, a lymphangiography will be done by injecting dye into the lymph nodes before x-rays are performed. This is one of the most accurate tests in determining the reason for the lymphedema after the normal blood tests fail to find the cause. Additionally, the veterinarian may need to do an ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI for a more detailed view.

Treatment of Lymphedema in Dogs

Just like most conditions, the treatment for lymphedema is based on the cause or the lack of a cause. If the swelling is mild and the veterinarian cannot find a cause, the best choice may be to wait and see if it goes away on its own or if it gets worse. However, there are some treatments that the veterinarian can try, which are:

Pressure wraps

Wrapping the affected area with a compression bandage can help reduce the swelling right away. The veterinarian will show you how to rewrap the area so you can change the bandage on your own.

Warm water massage

Water therapy, or hydrotherapy, is great for dogs and their owners if done together. You may choose to have a professional do the massage if you are wary about doing it yourself. The heat of the water and weightlessness can instantly make your dog feel better. Continued therapy may be able to lessen the lymphedema or get rid of it completely, but that depends on the cause.

Medications

If your dog has any kind of infection or if the veterinarian suspects infection is imminent, antibiotics are prescribed. Corticosteroids can help get rid of the swelling right away, or a type of benzopyrone, which can also reduce swelling.

If the underlying condition is cancer, surgery may be the best treatment, along with radiation or chemotherapy. In the case of heart disease, the veterinarian will probably run some more tests or prescribe medication such as beta blockers or ACE inhibitor.

Recovery of Lymphedema in Dogs

There is no cure for lymphedema, but if the underlying cause is found and treated, the condition may simply go away as well. Continue to watch your pet for complications or the return of lymphedema. Continue to visit the veterinarian regularly as recommended.

Lymphedema Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Lumpy
Irish Wolfhound
8 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Irish Wolfhound with active lymphedema for last 8 months. Frequent drainage from paw or at elbow of rear leg. No other symptoms. Affected leg was hard and swollen for about a year prior to any drainage. Vet didn't know what it was. He wears a compression stocking to keep swelling down. Can we stop the drainage?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2985 Recommendations
First it is important to determine the underlying cause of the lymphedema; if the underlying cause is determined, it may be treated or managed which should improve the severity of the lymphedema and any drainage. Sometimes the cause is idiopathic and it is difficult to control; if you’re having difficulties it may be worth having Lumpy checked by another Veterinarian or a Specialist to try to determine a cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Powder
Bulldog
13 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Leg Swelling

My dog had being diagnosed with breeze cancer, an aggressive form and she developed Lymphedema on her right leg. What are the best options for her? Can I used compression?
I appreciate
Elena

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1402 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm not sure what breeze cancer is, but lymphedema can be a very difficult complication to manage, and doesn't respond to compression. It would be best to discuss her options with your veterinarian, as they know her situation, what is going on with her, and can advise you on treatment options. I hope that you are able to keep her comfortable.

My dog is 9 yrs old bulldog. Her rear legs looks swollen and when i examined it blood started to come out of the skin. Not pouring out but I'm different areas. She's acting herself and eating but what should I do.

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Teddy
Labrodar
6 Months
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Difficulty Walking&abdomenweakness
Difficulty Walking

I have a Labrador retriever which is 6 months old and suddenly he got affected by lymphedema and Doctor has prescribed respective medicines and we are regularly giving the same..but the problem is he is not eating any food.. having only boiled chicken and eggs and some snacks like biscuits rarely..please advise why he is not eating and what we have to feed him.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2985 Recommendations
Lymphedema may be primary or secondary so treatment would be dependent on the underlying cause; it is possible that there is a loss of appetite due to medication side effects so check the medications which Teddy is currently receiving to see if any of them list loss of appetite as a side effect. If Teddy doesn’t eat for a few days, it isn’t a huge problem but if he is not drinking it is a bigger problem; you can try to offer some wet food which has been slightly warmed in the microwave to make it more appetising or feeding him piece by piece by hand. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Cinnamon
Coonhound
10 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

swollen left hind leg..doesn't seem
swollenleft hind led

Medication Used

cephalexin 750 mg. bid,carprofen 75

Cinnamon (Redtick Coonhound) age 10...had a mammory growth surgically removed.long incision(10-12") after 3 days edema occured in hind leg on 1 side of incision looks discolored..she is on antibiotics(cephalexin) 2x day carprofen 2x day tramadol prn.My vet advised massage area 10-20 every hour..I think the staples at the most distal end is pinching..no bleeding...staples come out in another11 days.
Vet offered to keep her at clinic have tech do massage & compression wraps hourly..said it would cost $$...
the surgery cost $1300. I don't have more $$ to spend..I think the vet office is responcible for it!!
Thanks,
Donna

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1402 Recommendations
Lymphedema can be a very serious complication from hind end surgery, and is not a predictable effect. If you are not able to spend the money to keep her at the clinic, perhaps you would be able to have daily rechecks, and may be able to work something out with your clinic as to cost, as this is not the fault of the surgeon, or Cinnamon - ideally, everybody just wants her to heal.

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