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Lymphangiectasia | Innovet Pet

One of the most common wishes that pet owners have is for their pet to be healthy for their entire lives. For dog and cat owners, their pets are the equivalent of children. You care for your pets like you would a child of your own, and with all the caretaking that owning a pet entails, it is essentially another form of parenting.

So like parents, it can be one of the most heartbreaking scenarios to be in when your child is sick. When pets are diagnosed with health conditions, it affects the life of everyone involved, even when the diagnoses are not life-threatening. If you learn that your pet is living with an illness of any kind, know that there are multiple resources that you can turn to during the process of treating your pet's circumstances.

One of the most common diagnoses for dogs is something called lymphangiectasia. You will likely know that something is off about your dog, even if you aren't sure what exactly is going on with your pup. But like any situation that feels slightly unusual, you should always take your pet to the vet as soon as odd symptoms start to present themselves. Once your veterinarian can see your dog, he or she will be able to figure out the cause of your pet's symptoms.

If your pet's veterinarian diagnoses your little buddy with something called lymphangiectasia, the length of the name might throw you off. Not many people know what lymphangiectasia is, and many pet owners are intimidated by the very long name. But don't worry.

We have a wealth of information regarding lymphangiectasia, and we're here to impart our wisdom onto you. So, take a deep breath and keep in mind that lymphangiectasia is treatable. Now, let's talk about what lymphangiectasia is, and then we'll go from there!

Lymphangiectasia for Dogs: The Definition of Lymphangiectasia

Lymphangiectasia is a word that refers to the lymph nodes and the angioectasia in dogs. The lymph nodes are internal structures that carry a substance known as lymph. As a fluid that flows throughout your pet's body, the lymph in your dog's system is comprised of an abundance of protein, as well as water, fats, salts, glucose, and white blood cells.

The proteins that make up the lymph are known as globulin and serum albumin. All of these fats, proteins, glucose cells, salts, and white blood cells come together to keep everything flowing within your pet's body. These cells circulate everything in them all around the body, making sure that the proteins, for example, reach their intended destinations, wherever that may be.

There is an entire system within the canine skeletal frame that exists entirely for the sake of lymph nodes. The assortment of lymphatic vessels are destination points for the lymph to travel to, and the ability for the lymph to go where it is needed is very important for your dog's overall functioning. In order for lymph to traverse the inner pathways within your dog's body, the body has to undergo consistent contraction of your pup's muscles.

When muscle movements are performed often, the movement of lymph is at its peak. That being said, the movements are only efficient if the lymph vessels are in a healthy state, which is where the angioectasia part of lymphangiectasia comes into the picture. In short, angioectasia is a term meaning that a vessel is dilated. When vessels dilate, they expand for a size far larger than it should be.

Together, angioectasia of the lymph vessels means that the lymph vessels in your pet's body are enlarged, and as a result, they cannot transport their contents as usual because they are too large to move around your dog's body. Lymphatic vessels that are holding onto lymph end up dilating beyond belief in situations where lymphangiectasia is present.

But don't let the emphasis on dilated vessels trick you into thinking that lymphangiectasia only happens when lymph vessels are larger than normal. Lymphangiectasia is still present in situations where the lymph vessels are altered in the opposite way, which is contraction.

Sometimes, instead of dilating and getting bigger, lymph vessels can end up shrinking, which becomes an issue because the lymph vessels cannot hold onto as much lymph, if any. Whether your dog’s lymphangiectasia is stemming from restricted vessels or dilated vessels depends solely on the specifics of your pet’s circumstances.

Every dog is different, so the details of your pet’s situation will be specific to them. Talking to your vet and having your dog looked at are the only ways of knowing for certain whether the problem deals with restricted vessels or dilated lymph vessels.

The Importance of Lymphocytes in Dogs

Lymphangiectasia | Innovet Pet

Lymph and lymph nodes are not often spoken about in the same way that other internal organs are discussed. Many pet owners go their pet's entire lives without thinking about lymph nodes, and that is because their pet never struggles with lymphangiectasia. As a result, the owners do not have to direct their attention to their pet's lymph and lymphatic vessels.

So, if your pet is diagnosed with lymphangiectasia, then you start to pay attention to the lymphatic vessels. But knowing about lymph and lymph nodes is different than understanding the purpose of them, so let’s talk about the importance of lymphocytes in dogs! Learning about the role of lymph in your pet’s body will help you understand why all of this matters in the first place.

Lymphocytes are essential white blood cells that carry lymph to and fro in your pet's body. In essence, lymphocytes are there to fight diseases alongside the immune system of your canine companion. As you can imagine, lymphocytes are even more important than usual when a disease or virus makes its way into your pet's body.

When illnesses arise, the lymphocytes jump into action and begin to defend your pet's body in a serious attempt to fight whatever is invading your dog's internal systems. Also, lymphocytes can go the distance when your pet's immune system loses steam, which makes the lymph nodes and vessels an incredible second defense against anything that threatens the health of your dog.

Without lymphocytes, your dog's internal systems would only have one layer of protection. While the immune system does a marvelous job of defending against invader cells and illnesses that your dog comes into contact with, it is comforting to know that there is a back-up plan naturally instilled in case the immune system is weakened.

However, when there is another line of defense that genetically works to protect your pet, there is a lot of extra security. From reducing inflammation and working to expel illnesses before they get out of hand, to lowering the rates of infections within your pet's body, lymphocytes are an incredible tool when unwanted cells and bacteria invade your dog's body.

If your pet's immune system is already weakened for some reason, lymph and the associated vessels are essential. In fact, the absence of them can instigate a compromised immune system all on their own. All in all, lymphangiectasia is a direct attack on your pet’s overall health levels, and you want to figure out a treatment plan as soon as you are aware of the problem.

Reasons Why Canine Lymphangiectasia is Dangerous for Dogs

Another reason why lymphocytes are so important for the overall health of your dog is that lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels help to maintain equilibrium for your dog. Just to reiterate, the lymph within lymphatic vessels is a fluid, and the presence of lymph keeps the equilibrium among all of the fluids in your dog's body.

So, when dog lymphangiectasia comes into the picture and the lymphatic vessels of your dog's body start to dilate, they have an incredibly higher chance of erupting and bursting than normal lymphocytes for dogs. The mere fact that lymphocytes can burst is a problem in and of itself, but the location of the dilated lymphocytes is more important than anything else. Depending upon where the lymph nodes burst, the popping of dilated lymphocytes can be close to fatal.

The most common places in which bursting lymph nodes are very serious include the abdomen region, heart, intestines, kidneys, lungs, and anywhere where skin is involved. Whenever the lymphocytes burst, the lymph inside of them immediately begins to spill out of the lymphocytes. From there, the lymph is free to roam about inside of your dog, and this is problematic because lymph is supposed to be contained inside of vessels for a reason.

When the lymph is secreted into regions of the body that it is not needed in, the lymph disrupts the natural flow of internal processes for your dog. Then, not only is there lymph floating in random places throughout your pet's body, but now there are punctured lymphocytes acting useless and dysfunctional inside of your pup's system.

Once a lymph node is opened in this manner, it becomes functionless and that detracts from the number of lymphocytes available for transporting different substances around your pet's internal organs. Even furthermore, useless lymph nodes are not only taking up space without benefiting your dog's system, but they are also being covered up by the excess lymph that is floating around.

While this might not sound like a big deal, lymph that is not contained within lymphocytes can slowly but surely cause problems for your dog's body. Over time, the lymph builds up in places that it is not supposed to be in, which is unusual and confusing for your pet's internal processes.

Also, the fact that lymph is not within its respective lymphocytes means that there are fewer lymphatic vessels available for transportation purposes. Furthermore, the lymph that is outside of the lymphatic vessels becomes obstructive, meaning it blocks other organs from performing their perspective functions.

The Main Cause of Lymphangiectasia in Dogs

Similar to many other diseases, lymphangiectasia is not an illness that stems from only one cause in particular. There are multiple possible scenarios that result in lymphangiectasia, and the main causes of lymphangiectasia can be placed into one of two categories. The two main forms of lymphangiectasia are the primary form and the secondary form. Let’s look at the specifics of each of the two forms of canine lymphangiectasia.

The Two Main Forms of Lymphangiectasia in Dogs

As mentioned, there are two forms of lymphangiectasia in dogs. The two types of pre-existing situations that result in canine lymphangiectasia include…

Primary Forms of Canine Lymphangiectasia

  • Cholecystitis
  • Chylothorax 
  • Intestinal Lymphangiectasia 
  • Lymphedema
  • Thoracic Duct Obstruction
  • Widespread Malformation

Secondary Forms of Canine Lymphangiectasia

  • Cancer
  • Constrictive Pericarditis
  • Hepatic Veno-Occlusive Disease
  • Right-Sided Heart Failure

The Primary Forms of Lymphangiectasia in Dogs 

The six forms of primary canine lymphangiectasia are...

The Secondary Forms of Lymphangiectasia 

The four different secondary forms of lymphangiectasia include…

  • Cancer
  • Constrictive Pericarditis 
  • Hepatic Veno-Occlusive Disease 
  • Right-Sided Heart Failure

Symptoms to Look Out for With Lymphangiectasia for Dogs

If your pet starts behaving in odd ways, the first thing you will notice is that something is different about your dog. From there, it can be difficult to pinpoint the actual cause of your dog’s discomfort and unusual mannerisms. Since canine lymphangiectasia is an internal medical condition, there aren’t any visual symptoms that you can pinpoint from the outside.

Many cases of lymphangiectasia in dogs are not known until the vet diagnoses pets after performing invasive X-rays and professional tests. We’ll talk about diagnostic testing for lymphangiectasia in dogs soon, but for now, here are the eight most common side effects of canine lymphangiectasia. Even if you notice these changes in your pet, you cannot know for sure that the circumstances point to lymphangiectasia until you consult your dog’s trust veterinarian.

Symptoms of Lymphangiectasia in Dogs Involves the Build-Up of Fluid in...

Lymphangiectasia | Innovet Pet
  • The Abdomen 
  • The Chest 
  • The Tissue Beneath Your Pet's Skin 
  • Chronic Diarrhea 
  • Lethargic Behavior 
  • Loss of Appetite 
  • Sudden Weight Loss 
  • Vomiting and Nausea

The Ways Your Vet Will Diagnose Your Pet with Lymphangiectasia 

When seeking professional assistance and understanding regarding your pet’s current symptoms, you might end up leaving the veterinarian clinic with a diagnosis of canine lymphangiectasia. In order to know for sure that lymphangiectasia is the cause of your dog’s odd behaviors, there are certain tests that must be performed by medical professionals.

The method of diagnosing pets with lymphangiectasia ultimately comes down to your dog’s doctor’s discretion, but there are six main ways of testing for canine lymphangiectasia.

These tests include… 

Lymphangiectasia | Innovet Pet
  • Blood Tests 
  • ECG Recordings 
  • Endoscopies 
  • Fecal Smears 
  • Ultrasounds
  • X-Rays of the Chest or Stomach

The Four Ways of Treating Lymphangiectasia

Diagnosing dogs with canine lymphangiectasia is the first step in resolving the issue, but the next step is figuring out an appropriate way of treating lymphangiectasia in dogs. There are four commonly utilised ways of treating cases of lymphangiectasia in dogs.

The four ways that treatment of lymphangiectasia is implemented for canines include… 

  • Increasing the Fat Intake of Your Pet 
  • Increasing the Protein Intake of Your Pet 
  • Taking Your Dog in for Lymphatic Drainage Massages 
  • Administering Medications Intended to Lessen the Severity of Inflammation

How CBD Can Help Pets Diagnosed with Lymphangiectasia

CBD OIL FOR DOGS | Innovet Pet Products

Many dogs manage very well when they are diagnosed with lymphangiectasia. This medical condition is often diagnosed after the dogs have been handling their symptoms for a while. The main reason for this is the internal nature of lymphangiectasia, though some veterinarians catch the symptoms of this condition very early on. No matter when your vet catches the presence of lymphangiectasia in your dog’s body, there is still a very high chance that treatment options are available and beneficial.

Though lymphangiectasia does not create a life that is debilitating for your pet, it still interrupts the lifestyle that your dog is used to, starting with discomfort. Your dog will not necessarily be in persistent pain as a result of canine lymphangiectasia, there are certain times where your dog is going to be uncomfortable. It might seem as though this discomfort is a side effect your pet has to deal with, but in all actuality, there is a remedy for discomfort in dogs with lymphangiectasia. 

HEMP DOG TREATS | Innovet Pet Products

CBD for dogs with diagnosed lymphangiectasia is the perfect way of helping to manage the symptoms. Cannabidiol is an excellent pain reliever and stress reducer, as well as a beneficial supplement for dogs that are experiencing anxiety as a result of the symptoms that lymphangiectasia causes. When taken regularly, CBD may help make your dog with canine lymphangiectasia feel a million times better.

From CBD oil and doggy treats, to creams for the fur and balms for the skin, you are sure to find whichever form of cannabidiol that you are looking for. The personality and personal preferences of your pup will determine which type of CBD you purchase, but the team at Innovet is always ready and willing to answer any questions you may have! Please feel free to contact us if you need any assistance with making your decision. We can’t wait to help you find the right CBD product for your pet with canine lymphangiectasia! 

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