Hi, I have a 6 year old German shorthaired pointer, very healthy and active however I found an enlarged lymph gland in his neck on his right side this evening..I cannot get a vet appt until Tuesday as it is a holiday weekend here in canada...I'm already thinking the worst. What are the chances this could be something minor? Any reply greatly appreciated.Thank you
Hello - I am Dr. Matt - I would be glad to help you with your question.Are you able to feel an enlarged lymph node on the other side of his neck?Is he lymph node that you are feeling firm or soft?Is the lymph node right under his jaw or down further on his neck?
Hi dr. Matt, only enlarged on right side and feels firm ( not sure what soft would feel like and don't want to squeeze it) it is located a little further down his neck. Have felt under jaw and chest and behind legs and cannot feel anything else abnormal
Thanks for the additional information.The main Lymph node that sits in the neck is called the Prescapular lymph node. This lymph node is not in the middle of the neck though but more down by where the shoulder and the neck meet. The other lymph node in that region would be under the jaw which is called the mandibular lymph node. This is fairly snug to the jaw bone therefore I doubt that is what you are feeling either.At this time the mass may not be a lymph node at all, though without an exam I cannot 100% rule that out). Instead this mass may be a solitary tumor, cyst, or even a fatty mass. We usually cannot tell what a mass is by the firmness therefore this does not always tell me anything. I have seem some benign harmless fatty masses that are firm and then some cancerous tumors which are soft.If the mass was a lymph node then the possible cause would be an infection in the area, an inflammatory reaction, or as you are probably worried about cancer such as lymphoma.Since this mass may not be a lymph node due to the uncommon location, other types of serious masses that could from in that area could be a thyroid tumor. These masses usually cause dogs to bark differently, have changes in their breathing, or even have more difficulty swallowing. If you are not seeing that then this could be a solitary mass not attached to any organs. Unfortunately as you know this still could be a tumor such as a mast cell tumor or a similar type of localized cancer. There is still a chance that this could be a benign mass also.At this time the best way to determine would be to take Eli into your vet's office on Tuesday and have them perform a test called a fine needle aspirate which is where they can collect some of the cells and determine if the mass is benign or cancerous.If the mass is freely movable then surgery would most likely be a very good option to cure the mass in case it is cancer. At this time hang in there and keep an eye on the size of the mass and for any other masses and I'm sure your vet can give you a diagnosis on Tuesday.Hope this helps -please feel free to reply if you have any other questions. If you are satisfied with my answer please do not hesitate to click on the "excellent service" button as this will compensate me for my time. Thank you in advance!
Hi dr. Matt, and thank you. I have every intention of getting him in to his vet on Tuesday, I would just like some advice on how to tactfully AND assertively let my vet know that I want this lump aspirated immediately..I do not want to hear 'just keep an eye on it', Which is a common response from some doctors..i want to conclusively know as soon as possible, so that said, can I ask my vet to do the needle aspiration even if she feels it's nothing? Thank you again..Angela
Absolutely!! I would just walk in and tell them that you would like the mass aspirated to determine if it is cancerous or not. I would never be offended by a client saying this to me and it actually makes our job easier therefore do not hesitate to just tell them. If they tell you that it does not need to be done, just say I understand but I have to know what it is. I am pretty sure that she would aspirate it if you wanted it done.
Hi dr Matt - I emailed you on the weekend about my 6 year old GSP with a lump in his neck...went to the vet today, it is enlarged mandibular lymph glands, no other lymph glands enlarged anywhere else..did fine needle aspiration, all he could see was high white blood cell count, high levels of bacteria and normal lymph cells. Said he has never seen bacteria from within the lymph node before, sent slides off to pathologist..I am worried because he's never seen this before..what could this mean? Any thoughts/ insight appreciated
This is an indication of an infection somewhere in the body. With the mandibular lymph nodes being enlarged, the most likely places that the infection could be from would be the oral cavity, ear canal, upper respiratory tract, or even the throat region. Bacteria are not a common finding in a lymph node but are definitely a strong indication that this is most likely not from cancer and that Eli should be started on some antibiotics. I am assuming that he has been started on antibiotics at this time. The pathologist will be able to determine what general type the bacteria are which can then help to determine what antibiotic will be a better choice. A thorough exam of his face, teeth, and ears will also help determine if there is any sign of infection from there.
Dr Matt is there a possibility that he mistook cancer cells for bacteria? I am just so anxious because he said he hasn't seen bacteria from a lymph node in 22 years of practice. Have you ever heard of it?
I would seriously doubt that your vet would have mistaken a bacteria for a cancer cell as bacteria are very tiny and cancer cells are about 10-20 times as large. Bacteria are not common and I have only seen a few cases of bacteria in the lymph node. Most of the time the bacteria were inside of a white blood cell that had eaten up the bacteria. This would be a normal process to see when a dog has an infection. THe few cases I have seem were from severe periodontal disease or gum disease. Tick borne diseases such as Lyme disease, or Ehrlichia could cause bacteria to appear in the lymph node also. These diseases usually cause a dog to be very lethargic and ill though.
He seems totally fine, however has been very hot here and too hot to run him, he gets very bummed out when he doesn't have his runs...appetite and bathroom habits totally normal...he was bitten by a tic about 6 weeks ago..could this be related? If it is tick related, wiill the pathologist be able to identify that and will the amoxicillin He is on now do any good? Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX being so needy...just petrified, it's not his time and I'm not ready. :(
It is definitely not his time! The bacteria that cause tick disease are actually fairly easy to identify therefore I do think that a pathologist should be able to tell if this was from a tick borne disease. This is not always a guarantee, but they should be able to determine that if the aspirate provided a very good sample. A tick bite from six weeks ago definitely could be related.The amoxicillin will help somewhat with Lyme disease, but will not help with most of the other tick borne diseases. The best antibiotic for tick borne diseases is Doxycycline.
So it could be Friday before I hear the results, should he be okay until then? Any reason you can think of that my vet wouldn't have leaned in that direction when explaining to me, or is it just difficult to pick up with an aspirated and limited means of testing..he just viewed under a slide and told me what he seen..lymphocytes, white blood cells and a lot of bacteria..he seemed to brush it off when I told him about the tic bite...
A tick bite would not be the most common cause and I can say that I have never personally seen bacteria in a lymph node from a tick disease before though we cannot 100% rule this out. More then likely would be an infection from one of the other places around the lymph node as these could cause more bacteria to be seen. The Amoxicillin is a good antibiotic for periodontal disease, ear infections, and other infections around the face therefore I do think that as long as he is not acting lethargic or sick he really should be fine without an additional antibiotic at this time.
Thank you soo much...you've made it possible for me to sleep a bit over the next few days xxxoo
You are welcome! When you find out what the results are let me know if you could. Thanks!