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Can Swollen Lymph Nodes Cause Weight Loss In Dogs?



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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The health of our beloved canine companions is a top priority for many pet owners. Swollen lymph nodes are one symptom that can indicate a potential problem in our furry friends.

In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of swollen lymph nodes and how they can possibly cause weight loss in dogs.

We will also look at ways to treat swollen lymph nodes and how to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Key Takeaway

  • Swollen lymph nodes can cause weight loss in dogs, primarily because they are often a symptom of underlying conditions like lymphoma or lymphadenitis, which can lead to decreased appetite, increased metabolic demand from the immune system, and a condition called cachexia where the body breaks down its own tissues, all contributing to weight loss.
  • The signs that your dog’s lymphoma may be getting worse can include loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, vomiting or diarrhea, swelling in the face or leg, difficulty swallowing, coughing, decreased activity, inability to move or stand, incontinence, and increased thirst.

Can Swollen Lymph Nodes Cause Weight Loss In Dogs?

Can Swollen Lymph Nodes Cause Weight Loss In Dogs

Yes, swollen lymph nodes can cause weight loss in dogs because the swelling is a symptom of an underlying condition such as lymphoma or lymphadenitis, both of which can lead to weight loss.

The reason for weight loss can be multifactorial. Dogs may experience loss of appetite due to feeling unwell, which leads to a decrease in food intake and subsequent weight loss.

Some diseases causing swollen lymph nodes, like cancer, can also cause a metabolic condition called cachexia where the body breaks down its own tissues, including muscle and fat, leading to weight loss.

In addition, the energy required by the dog’s immune system to fight off the disease can also contribute to weight loss.

See also: Can Swollen Lymph Nodes Cause Cough In Dogs?

Does Lymphoma Cause Dogs To Lose Weight?

Yes, lymphoma can cause dogs to lose weight. Alimentary lymphoma, a type that affects the intestines, often results in gastrointestinal lesions leading to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and consequently weight loss.

Even other types of lymphoma may lead to general feelings of malaise, resulting in decreased appetite and lethargy, which can further contribute to weight loss.

It’s also worth noting that advanced cases of the disease can have more devastating signs such as continued weight loss.

See also: How To Find Dog Lymph Nodes [Complete Guide]

What Are The Signs My Dogs Lymphoma Is Getting Worse?

  • Swollen lymph nodes, which are often the first sign of lymphoma in dogs.
  • Loss of appetite or a decrease in the amount of food your dog typically consumes.
  • Weight loss, even if your dog is still eating normally.
  • Lethargy or decreased energy levels.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Swelling in the face or legs.
  • Difficulty swallowing, which may be caused by swollen lymph nodes near the throat.
  • Increased thirst and urination.
  • Shortness of breath, which could indicate that the lymphoma is affecting the lungs or heart.
  • Individual, raised nodules or more generally dispersed scaly lesions, indicative of cutaneous lymphoma.

What Cancers Cause Rapid Weight Loss In Dogs?

Cancers that cause rapid weight loss in dogs include:


Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymph nodes and can lead to rapid weight loss in dogs. This happens because the cancer interferes with the normal function of the lymphatic system, which is crucial for maintaining the body’s immune system and overall health.


Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that is common in dogs, particularly large breeds. This aggressive cancer can cause rapid weight loss, primarily due to loss of appetite and pain associated with the disease.


Hemangiosarcoma is a fast-growing, highly invasive variety of cancer that occurs in the lining of blood vessels and spleen of dogs. This type of cancer can cause significant weight loss due to internal bleeding and reduced nutrient absorption.

Gastrointestinal Tumors

Gastrointestinal tumors can also lead to rapid weight loss in dogs. These tumors can disrupt the dog’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients, leading to significant weight loss over time.

See also: Do Dogs Lymph Nodes Swell When In Heat?


Q: How are swollen lymph nodes in dogs treated?

A: Treatment for swollen lymph nodes in dogs depends on the underlying cause. If it is diagnosed as lymphoma, treatment options may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy.

Q: What are the symptoms of lymphoma in dogs?

A: Symptoms of lymphoma in dogs can vary depending on the type and stage of the disease. Common symptoms include enlarged lymph nodes, weight loss, loss of appetite, lethargy, and increased thirst/urination.

Q: How is lymphoma diagnosed in dogs?

A: Lymphoma in dogs can be diagnosed through various methods, including physical examination, blood tests, fine needle aspiration or biopsy of the affected lymph nodes, and imaging tests such as X-rays or ultrasound.

Q: What is multicentric lymphoma in dogs?

A: Multicentric lymphoma is the most common form of lymphoma in dogs. It involves the widespread enlargement of lymph nodes throughout the body and can affect multiple organs.

Q: What is the prognosis for dogs with lymphoma?

A: The prognosis for dogs with lymphoma can vary depending on the stage of the disease, the type of lymphoma, and the overall health of the dog. With treatment, some dogs can achieve remission and live for several months to a year or more.

Q: What causes swollen lymph nodes in dogs?

A: Swollen lymph nodes in dogs can be caused by various factors, including infection, inflammation, immune disorders, and cancer such as lymphoma.

Q: Can dogs with swollen lymph nodes be treated?

A: Yes, dogs with swollen lymph nodes can be treated depending on the underlying cause. If it is determined to be lymphoma, treatment options can be pursued to manage the disease.

Q: What are the signs of lymphoma in dogs?

A: Signs of lymphoma in dogs include enlarged lymph nodes, weight loss, decreased appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and changes in behavior or personality.

Q: What is the relationship between lymph nodes and white blood cells?

A: Lymph nodes are a part of the lymphatic system, which plays a vital role in the body’s immune response. Lymph nodes contain white blood cells, specifically lymphocytes, which help fight off infections and diseases.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, swollen lymph nodes can cause weight loss in some dogs.

While there are many other potential causes for weight loss in canine companions, it is important to consult with your veterinarian if you notice any abnormal swelling of the lymph nodes.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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