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Facial lymph nodes and teething.

Species: Dog
Breed: Rhodesian Ridgeback
Age: 6-12 months
Hi Dr. Marie,
After a lot of investigating w/ my own regular vet (very experienced), a reproductive vet specialist (sees lots of litters of puppies), & a canine dermatologist, it was determined that the lumps in my Rhodesian puppy's cheeks are simply "buccal lymph nodes", possibly enlarged because of the teething process. She will be 6 months old in one week. I do not know if all her molars in the back are completely in.
None of the vets I saw was worried about these, & the reproductive vet says he sees them a lot in breeds such as greyhounds. He called them teething bumps & seemed to suggest they will shrink when the teething process is done. The dermatologist was the one who called them buccal lymph nodes & he said they may or may not shrink, but that Beatrix would "grow into them".
While I am no longer worried that they are pathological, I am still a little freaked out by them. I would like if they would shrink up a bit (or totally) since I'm going to be showing her. In the last couple of weeks I feel they have grown just a bit larger. They are kind of the size of bean I would say.
I'm wondering what your thoughts are. Do you think they still may shrink up when she is done teething, if indeed she still has until the age of 8 months to complete the teething process?
Sincerely
Amy Rock


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

This is an interesting question! I have a vague memory that I may have seen one case like this. I remember it was a large breed dog with enlarged lymph nodes on the face that coincided with teething. If this is what they are then they really should shrink down when the inflammation of teething subsides. It could be a few weeks or even just a few days. I would be surprised if they stay there for any longer than a month though.

I hope that helps. Let me know if you have more questions.

Dr. Marie.


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Customer reply:

Thanks for answering my question Dr. Marie. Yes the the one thing I figured out is that this is sort of an anatomical anomaly that not too many vets are familiar with. It's very hard to find any information on the Internet about these buccal lymph nodes. One web site said that less than 10% of dogs have them & not always on both sides. Another web-site (referencing greyhounds) said only 4.4% of dogs have them.
For just some extra info, regarding my dog, the nodes have been noticeable since we got her at 11 weeks of age. People who didn't know what they were looking at only saw them after I pointed them out.
It's just in the last couple of weeks that I feel that they have gotten a good amount larger.
Amy


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for that info. I suppose one thing that you could ask your vet to do if you wanted more information is to biopsy these nodes. A fine needle aspirate is not painful to the dog at all. They would send some cells to a pathologist and the pathologist could tell you first of all whether or not they are actually lymph nodes and also if they are responding to inflammation. The other reason for facial lymph nodes to be enlarged would be cancer (lymphoma) but this would be extremely unlikely in such a young dog.



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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.

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