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My Dog Has Swollen, Enlarged Lymph Nodes. What are the causes and treatments?

(July 12, 2010)

Just like the lymph nodes in humans are important for regulating immunity, our pets also have these lymph nodes in their neck and groin. Both humans and their pets are susceptible to lymphoma, a condition in which the lymph nodes become swollen and cancerous. A cancer in any lymphatic tissue is known as lymphoma.

Swollen lymph nodes typically occur in middle aged dogs. Even though lymphoma is a life threatening condition in dogs, the canine may usually not show any particular signs or symptoms of illness until the condition has reached an advanced stage. The veterinarian usually physically checks for any swollen lymph nodes in dogs. The primary lymph nodes are present in the neck and the doctor initially checks around the neck to feel for any lumps. If the dog does not have lumps in the primary glands, the vet checks for the peripheral lymph nodes.
Swollen nodes in the dog’s groin may also be an indication of lymphoma. Once a physical examination of the dog is done, the vet then moves on to lab tests. A blood panel and urinalysis can help detect cancer related bio markers. If these bio markers are present in your dog’s blood, the dog is suffering from lymphoma. For a further confirmation, a biopsy from the dog swollen glands may be taken and studied.

It is not yet known how a dog gets cancer. Some of the possible causes of dog cancer include long exposure to chemicals, tobacco smoke, and the sun. There are certain genetic factors which may also cause cancers. Cancers almost always start with a small growth which continues to spread along the tissue. Cancer cells may arise in the body at different periods in a dog’s life and there are a variety of natural mechanisms with the help of which, the dog’s body gets rid of these. However, sometimes the body’s natural defenses may not be a good match for the cancer.

Though theoretically cancers can be treated, practically, there are very less chances of survival for the dog. This is why at the terminal stage of cancer it is the responsibility of the pet owner to make sure that their pets have a high quality of life. Cancer is also not contagious and therefore you can continue to love your pet the way you did before your pet got sick. The treatment itself can take a toll on your dog’s health and therefore making it feel secure and taking care of its needs fall largely on you.

Submitted by N M on July 12, 2010 at 05:35


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