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Enlarged Spleen in Dogs

Splenomegaly in Dogs

Enlargement of the spleen, known as splenomegaly, is a medical condition that can affect dogs of all breeds and genders. However, middle-aged dogs and larger breeds are more susceptible to this condition. Splenomegaly is typically not a primary issue with the spleen itself but rather a symptom of an underlying disease or condition. Treatment approaches are determined based on the underlying cause of the splenomegaly.

Symptoms and Types

Enlargement of the spleen can result in the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy and decreased activity
  • Weakness and potential collapse


An enlarged spleen can be triggered by various factors such as abdominal injury, canine hepatitis, infectious disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial infection, splenic cell tumors, and other immune disorders. Although these are among the most prevalent causes, the underlying medical reasons for splenomegaly are typically not directly associated with the spleen itself but rather indicative of another disease or condition.


During examination, a noticeable enlargement of the spleen or a protruding abdomen may be observed. Subsequently, fine needle aspiration might be employed to diagnose the spleen disorder. Furthermore, ultrasounds and X-rays may be utilized to examine the spleen and adjacent areas for any irregularities. Alongside imaging techniques, comprehensive blood work will provide insight into potential underlying medical issues.


The choice of treatment options will hinge upon the underlying causes of the enlarged spleen. Since an enlarged spleen usually indicates an underlying medical condition, it is crucial to identify the cause before determining the appropriate treatment for the animal. In severe instances, removal of the spleen (splenectomy) may be advised.

Living and Management

Most of the prevalent underlying medical causes can be managed with prescription medication. If the spleen is removed, your dog will need rehabilitation to ensure proper healing, and its activity should be restricted accordingly.


At present, there are no known preventive measures for an enlarged spleen.

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