Spleen Enlargement (Splenomegaly) in Dogs

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What is the Function of the Spleen in Dogs?

In dogs, many blood vessels connect the liver and stomach, and the blood supply of these three organs is closely linked. The spleen is an organ consisting of 2 different parenchymal regions, the red pulp and the white pulp, each of which has important hematological and immunological functions.

red pulp, filters the blood and removes aged or damaged blood cells. It also aids in metabolism, then recycling of iron, and acts as a site for hematopoiesis, which produces leukocytes, platelets, and red blood cells when demand increases.

White pulp areas are; Cells harboring infectious organisms consist of lymphoid tissue that produces and stores immune cells (eg, lymphocytes, macrophages) that supply the blood’s immune cells for foreign material such as antibody-coated cells targeted for destruction. The spleen also acts as a blood reservoir, storing up to 20% of the total red blood cell mass in the body and up to 30% of the platelet mass. The spleen easily releases red blood cells and platelets to meet physiological demand.

Just like humans, dogs have lymphatic systems that filter the blood, remove damaged red blood cells, and balance the fluids in their bodies. this organIt is the largest organ in the lymphatic system. The spleen is located in the abdominal cavity of dogs, on the left side of the abdomen, near the stomach, inserted under the rib cage. The spleen has two main functions; removing old red blood cells and helping the immune system fight infections. Both of these functions are crucial to keeping your dog healthy. If your dog’s spleen needs to be removed, the body has protective mechanisms to ensure that these functions are performed by other organs.

Spleen Enlargement in Dogs

Spleen disorders occur mostly in middle-aged and older dogs. Unclear disease manifestations in these dogs are common, with clinical manifestations ranging from life-threatening haemoabdomen. In these disorders, spleen enlargement is often present, regardless of the severity of the disease. Splenomegaly (Spleen Enlargement) typically results from discrete nodules or diffuse enlargement. spleen enlargement Although it may be present without clinical signs, patients with chronic spleen disease may experience lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, abdominal enlargement, and weight loss. Patients presenting with hemoabdomen often collapse and are in hypovolemic shock. Arrhythmias are frequently seen in splenic diseases, especially in hemangiosarcoma. Spleen enlargement can be detected by abdominal palpation, imaging modalities such as radiography, ultrasonography, or advanced imaging. Imaging is useful for distinguishing a splenic mass from diffuse splenomegaly and is of great importance in narrowing down possible causes of splenomegaly.

Splenomegaly refers to the enlargement of the spleen. This medical condition can occur in all dog breeds and genders, but middle-aged dogs and larger breeds are more prone to this condition. Treatment options will be recommended according to the cause of splenomegaly.

Causes of Spleen Enlargement in Dogs

It is a common condition that can affect dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds and sexes. However, it tends to be more commonly diagnosed in middle-aged dogs. Various conditions are known to cause enlargement of the spleen, including abdominal injury, canine hepatitis, infectious diseases, blood parasitic diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial infection, cell tumors of the spleen, and other immune disorders. While these are some of the most common causes, the medical causes of an enlarged spleen are not directly related to the spleen itself, but rather a symptom of another disease or condition.

Splenomegaly in dogs can occur for many reasons, including:

  • Infections such as liver infections, intestinal or stomach infections, and blood-borne infections, also known as hepatitis.
  • Intestinal inflammation due to IBDr bowel disease)
  • Both benign and malignant tumors.
  • Abdominal injuries such as being hit by a car or kicked by a horse
  • blood parasitic diseases

While there is no way to completely prevent an enlarged spleen, having your dog checked out by a veterinarian once a year can help you spot any problems early.


It originates from the vascular endothelium and often develops into a large mass in the spleen. Its clinical manifestations are typically associated with mild to severe anemia, which can be life-threatening, including pale mucosa, tachycardia, lethargy, and abdominal pain. This can lead to bleeding. It can even cause significant hemoabdomen and acute anemia, and then coma.

Extramedullary Hematopoiesis

Extramedullary hematopoiesis (blood production occurring outside the bone marrow) causes a uniform symmetrical enlargement of the spleen with increased activity of the system and increased blood cell production.

Multicentric Lymphoma

Multicentric lymphoma is the most common form of lymphoma in dogs. The liver or spleen is often involved. Infiltration of neoplastic lymphoid cells often causes diffuse enlargement of the spleen, resulting in a characteristic, honeycomb-like appearance on ultrasonography. Treatment with chemotherapy is considered standard of care and is associated with 80% to 90% remission rates with median survival times of 10 to 12 months, depending on the chemotherapy protocol used.

Nodular Hyperplasia/ Hematoma

Nodular hyperplasia is the continuation of the process that results in hematoma formation. Nodules are benign masses that typically cause different abnormal areas in the spleen.ir. During ultrasonography, nodules appear as focal or diffuse discrete masses that can sometimes cause shadowing of the spleen and may cause an irregular splenic border. Rarely, however, nodules disrupt or swell the splenic capsule. These nodules cannot be distinguished from neoplasia by ultrasonography alone.

Spleen Obstruction

There are numerous causes of splenic occlusion, including sedation, anesthesia, thrombosis, right-sided congestive heart failure, splenic rotation, and portal hypertension. Because the spleen can pool up to 30% of its blood volume, splenic obstruction can cause severe splenomegaly and clinical manifestations. Smooth muscle relaxation may be responsible for splenic occlusion, which is drug-induced and may be limited to certain drugs (eg, phenothiazine sedatives, ultra-short-acting barbiturates). Administration of acepromazine, thiopental, or propofol produces marked splenomegaly. Severe liver disease can lead to portal hypertension and subsequent enlargement of the spleen. Increased systemic hydrostatic pressure from right-sided congestive heart failure or increased splenic vein hydrostatic pressure due to thrombosis can cause splenic congestion.

Spleen Enlargement Symptoms in Dogs

The symptoms of an enlarged spleen in dogs vary depending on how large the spleen is. Factors such as the rupture of the spleen, bleeding, and if there is bleeding, how fast or how long it has been bleeding, will significantly affect your dog’s behavior. Symptoms of an acutely ruptured and actively bleeding spleen may include:

Dog spleens that have been damaged by an injury or cancer may not be easily noticed and may bleed in small amounts over a long period of time. Dogs with damaged spleens may appear completely normal, even if they are mildly anaemic. This means they have lower-than-normal red blood cell counts.

Cancer, an infection or inflammation in your dogtuar bowel diseaseIf he has diarrhea, he may also show symptoms associated with these conditions, such as fever, weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea.

spleen enlargement in dogs

Diagnosing Spleen Enlargement in Dogs

A prominent spleen or a protruding abdomen may be noticed during examination. After such a situation, a fine needle aspiration can be used to diagnose the spleen disorder. Also, ultrasounds and x-rays may be used to view the spleen and surrounding areas for abnormalities. In addition to imaging, blood work will provide a thorough examination of all possible underlying medical issues.

Oftentimes, an enlarged dog spleen is not obvious just by looking at your puppy. Splenomegaly be sure to diagnose You should seek support from a veterinarian. At this point, your veterinarian will use physical examination findings and laboratory tests.

If your dog’s spleen is enlarged, your veterinarian will be able to feel the enlarged organ with their hands using a technique called abdominal palpation. Palpation of the abdomen along with the rest of the physical examination will give your veterinarian a clue as to what to do next. If your veterinarian suspects an enlarged spleen, they will likely recommend blood testing, abdominal radiographs (X-ray imaging), or abdominal ultrasound scans. An enlarged spleen, spleen tumors, and any bleeding can be easily seen on X-ray and abdominal ultrasound.

Your veterinarian may also want to examine your dog further using advanced imaging techniques such as evaluating samples of spleen tissue under a microscope, collecting fluid from their abdomen, testing, CT scan or ultrasound of the heart. He or she may also consider testing for certain blood-borne infections, depending on where you live.

Submission of the entire spleen to histopathology is recommended to increase the likelihood of distinguishing benign and malignant processes, especially hemangiosarcoma and hematoma.

Treatment of Spleen Enlargement in Dogs

Recommended treatment options vary depending on the underlying cause of the enlarged spleen. Because an enlarged spleen is typically a sign of another underlying medical condition, it is most important to understand the cause before formulating an appropriate treatment for the animal. In severe cases, removal of the spleen (splenectomy) may be recommended.

If a dog’s spleen is enlarged, bleeding profusely due to a traumatic injury or a bleeding tumor, your dog may be at risk for life-threatening blood loss. In such a scenario, surgical removal of the spleen must be done urgently to offer your dog the best chance of survival. Fortunately, most dogs can live normal, healthy and happy lives without a spleen.

If your dog has lost a lot of blood, a blood transfusion may be needed. If your dog has a malignant spleen tumor, such as in cases of hemangiosarcoma, additional consultation with an oncologist is recommended for follow-up cancer care.

If your dog’s spleen is enlarged due to another cause, such as blood loss from hepatitis or a tick-borne infection, hookworm anemia or other inflammatory conditions, your veterinarian will base treatment on treatment aimed at addressing the specific disease conditions. This is because a dog’s spleen usually returns to its normal size once the underlying conditions have resolved.

In any case, the best thing you can do if your dog is diagnosed with an enlarged spleen is not to panic. If this is the case, you can work closely with your veterinarian to ensure your dog gets the treatment he needs to feel his best.

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