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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 25578
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Dianne Williams. My 14 year old Shih Tzu has very swollen

Customer Question

Dianne Williams. My 14 year old Shih Tzu has very swollen glands in his neck. He's being treated with amoxicillin for 6 days and have reduced in size considerably. My vet said it could be blocked salivary glands, infection, or possibly lymphoma. He didn't have a temp and feels great - no changes other than the swelling in the neck. I'm going back to the vet Thurs, but was just researching some previous answers here.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: the vet checked other lymph nodes, but didn't feel anything. The swelling in the neck reached up near the ear and down in the throat and the glands were swollen big enough to fill my palm! Since the antibiotics, I only feel swelling in the gland, and it has reduced in size since the meds. Seiko (my dog) has never had any major health issues, and nothing like this ever. I'm just worried.
JA: OK got it. Last thing — Dog Veterinarians generally expect a deposit of about $19 to help with your type of question (you only pay if satisfied). Now I'm going to take you to a page to place a secure deposit with JustAnswer. Don't worry, this chat is saved. After that, we will finish helping you.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 months ago.
I'm sorry to hear of this with your 14 year old. At his age lymphoma becomes the most important differential diagnosis. Blockage in the duct of a salivary gland should affect just one gland. Infections aren't likely to cause swelling that would fill your palm. The most expedient manner in which to clarify the etiology is to simply needle aspirate a "gland "(which I believe to be a lymph node rather than salivary gland) and examine the aspirate microscopically for the appearance of the lymphocytes (normal, hyperplastic, or malignant characteristics of this blood cell) and for the presence of infectious agents (bacteria, mainly). The response to amoxicillin may indicate secondary bacterial infection. As mentioned above, a primary bacterial infection of either the salivary glands or lymph nodes isn't likely. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your prompt response. I am very fearful it's lymphoma. Was just hoping since the swelling came on suddenly and the amoxicillin helped so quickly, that it was something other than lymphoma. What's the average life expectancy after diagnosis and what happens between now and the end? More swelling? Pain? Sickness?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 months ago.
If lymphoma is present the life expectancy of untreated dogs is measured in weeks to a few months. Dogs undergoing chemotherapy may have life expectancies of 3-12 months+ but I do need to consider that every day is a gift at 14 years of age. Yes, if untreated there's nothing to prevent further lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes) and the lymphadenopathy is likely to become more apparent in other areas of his body. Please continue our conversation if you wish.