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Lymphadenitis In Dogs

Lymphadenitis In Dogs

What Is Lymphadenitis In Dogs?

Lymphadenitis is the medical term for localized inflammation or enlargement of one or more lymph nodes. Lymphadenitis is a chronic or acute condition, which may show specific or non-specific features suggesting the causative agent.

Lymphadenitis is often a resulting response by the immune system with increased white blood cell production to an influx of infectious agents gaining inroads or often secondary to the drainage of by-products into lymph nodes.

Although the cause is typical of a benign nature, malignant forms are documented as well. Lymph node swelling and abnormalities in dogs can result in symptoms that will alert you to the fact that there is an ongoing disease present. However, it always happens that your vet will find inflamed nodes that you weren’t aware of during a routine examination.

Symptoms Of Lymphadenitis In Dogs

Treatment Options For Lymphadenitis In Dogs

Lymphadenitis is inflammation rather than a specific disease or a symptom of an underlying disease, so no particular therapeutic recommendation will be appropriate.

The causative agent and characteristics of the inflammation will dictate appropriate treatment.

Your veterinarian will start the treatment based on the diagnosis and will stipulate a course of treatment and the choice of medications based on that.

For instance,

  1. Infectious: Antiviral therapy/Antibiotic therapy/antifungal therapy.
  2. Malignant: Chemotherapy +/- radiation therapy +/- Surgery.
  3. Autoimmune: Systemic glucocorticoids, Immune therapy, etc.
  4. Medication: Medication will be re-evaluated and discontinued if necessary.

Home Remedies For Lymphadenitis In Dogs

  • Follow your veterinarian’s guidelines for treatment and give the medications exactly as prescribed.
  • Follow-up exams will need to be scheduled to make sure that all of the infection has been eliminated.
  • The application of cool compresses may help relieve pain and swelling.
  • In case of zoonotic lymphadenitis, ask your veterinarian about the home treatment guidelines so that you can protect yourself, your family, and other pets from being infected.

Prevention Of Lymphadenitis In Dogs

The only way to prevent lymphadenitis is to check with your vet if you notice a sore swelling or at the first sign of any infection or any inflamed area that feels like a little lump just underneath the dog’s skin.

Make sure to practice good hygiene for your dogs.

Affected Dog Breeds Of Lymphadenitis

Boxer, Doberman Pinscher, Dachshund, Golden Retriever, Rottweiler, Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier

Additional Facts For Lymphadenitis In Dogs



  • Bacteroides, Fusobacterium, Pasteurella spp
  • Francisella Tularensis (Tularemia), Yersinia Pestis (Bubonic Plague)
  • B. vinsonii ssp. Berkoffii: Granulomatous Lymphadenitis in dogs.

Fungi: Cryptococcus, Blastomyces, Histoplasma, Sporothrix, and Coccidiodes.

Viruses: Canine Herpesvirus: Lymphoid Hyperplasia

Protozoa - Dogs affected by leishmaniasis and toxoplasmosis often have lymphadenitis.

Rickettsial: Ehrlichiosis and Salmon poisoning

Infiltrative (Neoplastic) - Multiple Myeloma, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Mast Cell Tumor, etc.,

Idiopathic and Noninfectious - Like lymphadenitis associated with the systemic or pulmonary eosinophilic disease.

Risk Factors: Immunocompromised dogs are more susceptible to infection and, consequently to lymphadenitis.

Lymphadenitis Types:

  • Localized lymphadenitis: This is a benign, self-limited, and the most common type. This involves one or more lymph nodes that are in close proximity to the site of the infection. For example, because of tonsil infection, enlarged nodes may be felt in the neck area.
  • Generalized lymphadenitis: This type of lymph node infection occurs in more than two noncontiguous lymph node groups. It may be caused by an illness that affects the whole body or an infection that spreads through the bloodstream.


What is the difference between lymphadenitis and lymphadenopathy?

In general, Lymphadenopathy refers to any disease process involving lymph nodes that are of abnormal consistency and increased size, meanwhile, Lymphadenitis is an inflammatory kind of lymphadenopathy that is painful.


  • Urinalysis and bloodwork
  • Serum biochemistry profile
  • Radiographs of the chest, neck, and abdomen
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • Ultrasound, CT scan


The fatality of lymphadenitis depends on the cause of inflammation. Skin infections or other infections caused by bacteria are the most common cause of lymphadenitis and it is usually not serious. Neoplastic causes of Lymphadenitis usually have a mortality rate higher.


Generally, lymphadenitis of puppies is usually related to infection and tends to be benign.

The risk factors that may be poor prognostic indicators include but are not limited to the length of duration of lymphadenitis (> 5 weeks), advanced age, lack of resolution of node size, generalized adenopathy, and systemic signs (e.g. night sweats, fever, hepatosplenomegaly, weight loss).

When To See A Vet For Lymphadenitis In Dogs?

Contact your vet right away, if you notice any of the following:

  • Nodes that are soft, matted together, and/ or painful to touch.
  • red streaking of the skin or Redness over nodes.

Food Suggestions For Lymphadenitis In Dogs

A lymphatic system diet should include:

  1. Nutrient-rich, raw food diet with lots of green leafy vegetables
  2. Cruciferous Vegetables - cabbage, cauliflower, Broccoli, etc
  3. Protein - Chicken breast or turkey breast, lean beef, Cooked fish (salmon, tuna)
  4. Vitamin C foods - Strawberries, citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes
  5. Antioxidants - Blueberries, Cauliflower, Beets, Beans, etc
  6. Omega - 3's - cold-water fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines, herrings, etc)
  7. Zinc: Turkey, spinach, legumes
  8. Vitamin B6: Salmon, sweet potatoes

Foods to avoid:

  1. Avoid dairy products
  2. No to fried , ultra-processed, Hard or jagged foods (such as Crunchy crackers, chips, etc)
  3. Hard to digest grains and greasy foods
  4. White bread, rice, and pasta
  5. Aerated/fizzy drinks, fruit juices, and Fatty/Fast Food Items


Sometimes, lymphadenitis is a challenging disease to treat, as the clinical signs may come and go independent of any treatment going on. The treatment is changeable based on the causative agent.

If the diagnosis reveals malignant causes, then more rigorous treatment may be warranted. Also, there is a possibility of recurrence after remission.

In most cases, prompt treatment clears up lymphadenitis quickly. Sometimes, lymph node swelling takes some time to go away.

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