In dogs, spleen complications are very common and can be due to various factors like bacterial infection, accidental trauma, inflammation of the internal organs, spleen cell tumors, and various other immune system disorders.
Structure and Function of Spleen
Spleen is an extended dark-red colored organ that is located near the stomach and in the left forward part of the abdomen. It has the shape of a tongue and its length is relatively bigger than its width. It is constricted in the middle and is covered by a capsule of fibrous tissue. Its internal parts consist of red pulp, white pulp, and marginal zone. It is supplied with numerous blood vessels and performs the crucial function of filtering blood and helping in various other immune functions. It consists of lymphocytes and macrophages, two immune system cells that help in resisting against external agents and viruses.
Various signs of spleen problems that affect the health of a dog are as mentioned below.
- Many dogs develop pale gums that may be due to the bleeding into the abdomen or due to a tumor that has ruptured.
- Abdomen stretching or abdominal enlargement.
- Areas in the abdomen showing hard masses or lumps.
- Weakness, lethargy, and lack of playfulness.
- Loss of appetite.
- Dark, port wine-colored urine due to the passage of blood cells and hemoglobin.
Spleen problems are a sign of some underlying illness that may be affecting your dog. Various spleen problems that can affect dogs have been mentioned below.
Splenic torison is a problem that affects deep-chested dogs. In this case, the spleen enlarges (called splenomegaly in medical terminology) because the blood vessels twist and it is over-filled with blood. Blood clots develop in the blood vessels and the spleen dies off, a condition known as necrosis.
Hemorrhage in spleen can occur due to accidents or due to the rupturing of a tumor that hasn't yet been treated. Hemorrhage in serious cases can lead to death.
Hemangiosarcoma is a tumor of the spleen that frequently results in its rupturing. There is severe internal bleeding in this case and the tumor spreads slowly to the brain, lungs, liver, spinal cord, skin, muscles, and even the fat under the skin.
Lymphosarcoma is a cancer of the lymphocytes that may involve the spleen. In fact, cancer of the white blood cells (leukemia) and mast cells (mastocytoma ) are known to effect the spleen.
Canine spleen problems are usually diagnosed in the following ways.
- The blood count of the dog is measured.
- Urinalysis and checking of past medical complications.
- Radiographs for the chest in order to detect cancer.
- Ultrasound of the abdomen area to examine the spleen, liver, and other organs in that vicinity.
Timely treatment is essential in order to save the dog from these diseases. Various treatments are as follows.
- Administering intravenous fluids and blood transmission in the case of splenic torison. It is called stabilization.
- Monitoring the heart for improper heart rhythm.
- Surgeries can be performed in case of a liver and spleen biopsy for examining the abdominal area of the body.
- Fluid therapy is given after the surgeries.
These problems can be treated in the initial stages of the disease. However, there are some potential threats related to the surgeries or treatments. It is advisable to strictly follow the veterinarian's advice, take proper care of your dog, and go for the safest mode of treatment.