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Lymph node enlargement.

Species: Dog
Breed: Rot/sheperd/7 other
Age: 2-5 years
Lola was diagnosed with stage III-IVa (b cell) lymphoma a few months ago. Today was the start of her 4th and final round of chemo on the CHOP protocol (vincristine, cytoxan, vincristine, doxorubicin). Lola has tolerated chemo well and has been in clinical remission since the 3rd week of treatment. However, today during consultation after her vincristine treatment I was told that her lymphnodes under her jaw were slightly enlarged compared to other weeks. They weren't large enough for the oncologist to perform an aspiration, but this news was still worrisome to me. If the nodes weren't large enough to warrant an aspiration, should I worry? Is it normal for the lymphnodes to be slightly enlarged for any reason other than cancer? I know she is getting the best possible care because I drive her all the way to Texas A&M small animal clinic from houston. I just don't see how she could have been responding so well to the CHOP protocol so well for the first 16 of the 19 week protocol, to now have issues. Your input is greatly appreciated.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh I am sorry to hear about Lola.

There are other possible reasons for lymph node enlargement that don't involve cancer. For example, an infection can cause a lymph node to be enlarged. A systemic infection that affects the whole body could cause more than one lymph node to be enlarged. However, as she has a history of having lymphoma, the most likely culprit for lymph nodes to be enlarged is indeed cancer.

Now, if the oncologist says that they have trouble aspirating the lymph node, then there can't be too much enlargement. Sometimes deciding on whether or not lymph node is enlarged can be very subjective. I have had cases where one that felt that there was lymph node enlargement and another vet didn't. So, it is possible that there is nothing new going on.

At this point, unfortunately, all we can do is wait and see what happens. On her next visit, I'm sure the vet will have another feel and see if the nodes are enlarging even more. If so, they will likely aspirate to see if there is cancer there. You're right that Lola is getting the best of care. Trust your vets and the advice that they give.

I hope that things work out okay. Please let me know if you have more questions.

Dr. Marie


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.