I discovered a swollen lymph node in the left side of my two year old Shih Tzu's neck. I immediately took her to the vet and he checked her temperature, which was normal, and felt all other nodes, which were also normal. After one minute of looking her over he concluded that nothing was wrong and if it was I had caught it "too early", which I didn't think was possible, especially if it is cancer. He gave her a shot to reduce the swelling and sent us on our way. I do not think the proper attention was given to this situation, but I don't know if I should wait several weeks to see if swelling subsides or if I should go to another vet. The vet also didn't bother to check her teeth to rule out any possible tooth infections. This worried mommy needs help!
I am so sorry your question disappeared down the list! That can happen sometimes when a lot of questions come in at once.
OK, so your vet was looking for 'other symptoms' to give him a clue what could be wrong, if anything. But you're right. The very first thing I would think about with a swollen lymph node in the neck, and no other obvious lymphatic involvement would be: 1) tooth infection or damage to tongue, gums, or teeth. 2)infection or inflammation in the throat, or possible foreign body, however small, lodged there. 3) any ear problem, including mite infestation. 4) a scratch, tick bite, wasp sting, or any other (even small) injury to the head area or neck area. 5) eye inflammation or infection.
It does sound like your vet didn't examine your dog in a logical kind of way. I think you should take her to another vet for a second opinion. A lot can be known from her blood values. That, at least, could rule out many systemic problems.
Sometimes, a lymph node will come up then go down again. A lymph node is basically doing its job of protecting the system from any infection. They swell when they are actively doing this. Sometimes with dogs we can't see very easily what can be the cause. It could be a small scratch under the fur, and hard to see, which has 'flared up' a bit, but the immune system will control things, and the lymph node will eventually go down when it has done its job. Lymph nodes will often swell for what appear to be the tiniest of causes! I know. I got a bad insect bite a few weeks ago, and the node went up under my arm for a couple of days, then disappeared. And the bite healed OK.
Thanks for such a great post. My golden 8 y o presented with those nodes on her neck, and I am sure to take her to the vet and go over all the mentioned numbers - just so we do not miss anything. Thank you for being so helpful!
i found a huge swollen lymph node bigger than a softball on my blood hounds neck. it came up over night. i took him to the ER vet and they sent me to my regular vet, she thinks its a reactive lymph node reacting to a bite or other injury,, no visible injury or bite marks. the vet is going to remove the node and send it off for test. all other lymph nodes are feel normal at this time. its the node on his right side of his neck. a large amount of fluid filled around it and the prednisone has made the fluid go away. he also tested positive for tick disease and is taking doxycycline for the treatment.if you have any suggetions or answers please email me ***@****
I'm sorry about this but email addresses don't come out in posts.
Anyway, the course of action your vet has suggested sounds like the way to go.
It could be that the lymph node got so badly infected as a result of your dog's condition. Tick disease (is this Lyme?) can drag the immune system down terribly. I guess your vet is doing his best for this? It's a long antibiotic course, but hopefully it will get on top of it.
However your vet will have to rule out any other possible causes for such a dramatically swollen lymph node, so the biopsy sounds sensible under the circumstances.
Is the surgery wound healing OK?
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