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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4995
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My dog's lymph nodes in her neck are extremely swollen,

Customer Question

My dog's lymph nodes in her neck are extremely swollen, especially the right one. I took her to my vet, she prescribed prednisone and an antibiotic for two weeks. She said the lymph nodes would shrink back down, but the right one is actually larger. She aspirated it and did a quick test in her office, feels 80% sure it's cancer. But since having the antibiotics, her mouth has cleared up, breath is back to normal and she seems fine. Should I be concerned that the lymph node isn't decreasing?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 6 months ago.

Hello my name is***** and I am a licensed veterinarian with over 9 years of experience. I am hoping to help you with your pet Chloe today. Since I can’t physically exam your pet, I may need to respond with several follow up questions so I can best help you. Remember there is no limit on how many questions you can ask to in order to clarify any information I have provided regarding your pet. I just have a few initial questions to ask to gather some more information if you don’t mind? Did your veterinarian note swollen lymph nodes anywhere else on the body? Did they discuss sending the aspirate to the lab to confirm cancer?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No swollen lymph nodes anywhere else. We discussed sending the results off, but it would cost several hundred dollars.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I should also add that she was sprayed by a skunk last night, would that effect the lymph node? She's acting fine, appetite is fine too. But the lymph node has become larger this evening.
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 6 months ago.

Okay thanks for the additional information. Did your veterinarian discuss with you what type of cancer it could be? Based on what you are describing if it is cancer, I would suspect that it is lymphoma. How long has she been on the prednisone for? With lymphoma depending on the dose of the prednisone it may take some time for the lymph nodes to shrink if it is due to cancer. But if the cancer is advanced then it may not respond to the prednisone at all. So if it not shrinking after 48 hours I would be concerned.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
She's been on the prednisone for over a week now. Twice a day for two weeks then once a day for four more weeks. 1/2 tablet.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
She didn't say what cancer. Thinks it's probably slower growing because only her neck nodes are swollen.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 6 months ago.

A skunk spray wouldn't normal affect the lymph nodes to cause them to increase to the size that you are describing. Usually cancer, major infection, or some type of tick borne disease would cause increase in size of the lymph nodes. If she has been on the prednisone for more than a week and the lymph node is getting larger then I would be concerned. I would definitely ask your veterinarian about a recheck prior to decreasing the dose of prednisone.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
She indicated that the in house test results showed an abnormal amount of one particular white blood cell count indicating cancer. Any chance it could be an infection only?:)
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 6 months ago.

She was probably talking about the white blood cells called lymphocytes. An infection can cause similar signs but with her age and how quickly it seemed to come on I would strongly suspect cancer first.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ugh. What are other signs that I should look for. She acts fine otherwise
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 6 months ago.

Well with lymphoma they can initially respond well with prednisone which it sounds like she is doing. What you will need to watch out for is when she stops responding to it. This will be evident by the fact that the lymph nodes will start to increase in size again and she will start acting sick again. I usually see this in about a month after starting prednisone in dogs who have lymphoma. You should ask your veterinarian about any immune booster supplements to see if they can help as well. I usually give dogs a supplement called CAS options