What does the spleen do in a dog? What to Know

After several days of hospitalisation at the vets, Biggles began to feel so much better that the challenge was to stop him from doing too much. After major surgery he had to take it very easy, which was hard for him. Very short walks on a lead, away from his boisterous friends, were all that he was allowed during his recovery, but now he is beginning to get back to normal gradually.

After examination, blood tests and x-rays, his problem was diagnosed as a tumour of the spleen and Biggles was operated on the same day. Unfortunately, his tumour was large and ulcerated which meant Biggles had lost a lot of blood from the circulation into his tummy. As a result, he needed several days of intensive care including fluids by drip and drugs to prevent vomiting and infection.

The spleen is one of those organs of the body that most people have heard of but many are uncertain where it is and what it actually does. Although it has several important functions, dogs can manage to live a normal life without a spleen if it has to be removed. The most common reasons for removal (splenectomy) are if the spleen has ruptured (usually after a road traffic accident), or if it develops a tumour. Both of these can lead to very sudden illness which needs fast diagnosis and treatment to save the dog’s life.

Biggles is a typically lively spaniel, who enjoyed a normal Sunday romping around with his companion. On the Monday morning, his owner found him collapsed and weak and had to rush him straight to his vets.

If a tumour develops on the spleen, it may grow very slowly but sometimes the symptoms can become apparent very suddenly, as in Biggles’ case. Symptoms can include tiredness, a swollen belly, anaemia (seen as pale or white membranes in the mouth and eyes which are normally pink) and loss of appetite. If the spleen is ruptured by an accident, or if a tumour bleeds heavily, the symptoms will be shock, collapse and possibly death.

Component of the Lymphatic System

The spleen has two distinct sections called the red pulp and the white pulp. The functions described above all occur in the red pulp of the spleen. The white pulp, on the other hand, is connected to the dog’s lymphatic system and acts as a lymph node for the animal. It contains a high concentration of lymphocytes, which are released when the dog is fighting off an infection.

Where Is the Spleen Located in Dogs?

The spleen is located near the stomach in the left forward part of the abdomen. The exact location of the spleen depends upon its size and shape and is affected by the size of the surrounding organs, such as the fullness of the stomach.

Splenic Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs

In many ways, we share a lot of similarities with our canine buddies in terms of anatomy and physiology. Canines also suffer from illnesses that affect their organs in pretty much the same manner as humans do. One organ that most dog owners are not familiar with is the spleen. There’s a chance that many have heard about this organ but not many know what exactly it does for the body. The spleen is present in most animals, including humans and dogs. Dog owners should know what the spleen does for the dog’s body as it will help in keeping the dog healthy throughout different life stages. Keep reading to learn more.

The spleen is an abdominal organ located on the left side of the dog’s abdomen, situated closely to the stomach and the liver. It is often described as slipper-shaped because of the broad, rounded ends with a narrow middle portion.

The spleen’s consistency is very similar to that of the liver and has a relatively fragile structural integrity. It can easily rupture or be damaged from external blunt forces. The spleen is a highly vascularized organ, containing numerous small, winding blood vessels inside. Any damage to the spleen, even if very small, can lead to significant internal bleeding.

The blood supply of the spleen comes from numerous major blood vessels. The splenic artery and vein, responsible for carrying blood to and from the organ, branch off major blood vessels that are responsible for the blood supply of most gastrointestinal organs. There are certain health conditions in dogs that may require removal of the spleen through a surgical procedure called splenectomy, and the most common complication from this procedure is hemorrhage from any of the blood vessels connected to the spleen.

The spleen has many functions inside the dog’s body. These functions help maintain the animal’s optimal health and immunity, playing an important role in fighting off certain infections and addressing other problems related to the dog’s blood supply and circulation. Despite this, a dog can actually live without its spleen, and in certain situations, removal of the organ can help improve the survivability of some conditions.