Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy

or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Enlarged Spleen in Dogs


Splenomegaly in Dogs


Splenomegaly refers to the enlargement of the spleen. This medical condition can occur in all breeds and genders, but middle-aged dogs and larger breeds tend to be more prone. It is also not usually directly related to the spleen, but rather a symptom of another disease or condition. Treatment options will be recommended based upon the cause of the splenomegaly.


Symptoms and Types  


An enlarged spleen may lead to such symptoms as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy and reduced activity
  • Weakness and even collapse




A variety of things are known to cause an enlarged spleen including an abdominal injury, canine hepatitis, infectious disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial infection, cell tumors of the spleen, and other immune disorders. While these are some of the most common causes, the medical causes for an enlarged spleen are not directly related to the spleen itself, but rather a symptom of another disease or condition.




Upon examination, a prominent spleen or a protruding abdomen may be noticed. A fine needle aspiration may then be used to diagnose the spleen disorder. Also, ultrasounds and X-rays may be used to view the spleen and surrounding areas for abnormalities. In addition to imaging, blood work will give a comprehensive review of all possible underlying medical issues.




The recommended treatment options will be dependent upon the underlying causes of the enlarged spleen. As an enlarged spleen is typically a sign of another underlying medical condition, it is important to understand the cause before establishing a proper treatment for the animal. In severe cases, removal of the spleen (splenectomy) may be recommended.


Living and Management


Many of the common underlying medical causes are treatable with prescription medication. In the event that the spleen is removed, Your dog will require rehabilitation to heal properly; its activity should also be restricted.




There are currently no known preventative measures for an enlarged spleen.


Related Articles

Anemia (Methemoglobinemia) in Dogs

Under normal conditions, methemoglobin is converted back to hemoglobin, and a balance is maintained. Learn more about Anemia in Dogs at PetMd.com.

Heart Medicine Poisoning in Dogs

Digoxin is used to treat congestive heart failure. Its primary benefit effect is to help the heart to contract. While digoxin is useful at times,...

Shock Due to Decrease in Circulation in Dogs

A dog can go into shock for a variety of reasons, but when their blood volume or fluid levels drastically drop, shock can onset rapidly. Hypovolemic...