Edema is an abnormal, excessive accumulation of fluid in the tissues that surround the cells of the body.
Dogs have two types of edema:
- peripheral (swelling of the subcutaneous tissue and skin),
- internal (swelling of the brain, lungs, etc.)
Peripheral edema is noticeable to the naked eye. It can occur in one place or spread throughout the body. Internal edema can only be recognized by certain symptoms. The edema itself is not a disease, but a symptom of some disease.
He points out that excess fluid has come out of the vessels. Therefore, for successful treatment it is necessary to look for the cause of edema.
Causes of edema in dogs
Local asymmetric edema in different parts of the body can occur as a result of injury, local inflammation due to infection, allergic reaction, injection of large amounts of fluid, compression of a limb, bites of poisonous animals or as a reaction to medicinal substances.
In older dogs, they can result from osteoarthritis of the extremities, which worsens with increasing physical exertion. Quincke edema may occur on the neck and face as a reaction to food or chemical intoxication, as well as to the bite of a reptile or an insect. This is a very dangerous condition, as a result of which the dog must be urgently delivered to a veterinary clinic.
Symmetric edema indicates a worsening of the venous outflow as a result of heart failure, an increase in hydrostatic venous pressure. They occur when oncotic blood pressure decreases as a result of the loss of proteins in kidney diseases (glomerulonephritis, amyloidosis, nephrotic syndrome), prolonged bleeding, and enteropathy.
The reason may be a decrease in the formation of protein during fasting and liver disease (cirrhosis), an increase in capillary permeability during intoxication, infections, and allergies in the dog.
Treatment of edema in dogs
Treatment of edema can only be symptomatic, aimed at quick relief of the animal's condition. It depends on the nature of the edema, because it is very important to recognize its cause and treat the underlying disease. If the edema is the result of injury or local inflammation, then antiseptics and antibiotics are most often used.
Chronic lesions of the joints (arthrosis) can lead to swelling of the tissues of the joint and paw with a significant load. If the edema occurs at the site of the insect bite, but the overall condition of the animal has not deteriorated, it is enough to treat the bite site with an antiseptic. Quincke edema on the face or neck is a symptom of allergies. Antihistamines, such as suprastin, diphenhydramine are rarely effective for dogs.
First aid is to restore the airway through adrenaline. Steroid hormones (dexamethasone or prednisone) are also used, at all stages of suppressing allergic reactions. When symptoms of angioedema (sudden swelling of the muzzle, redness or blanching of the mucous membranes of the mouth, rapid breathing, vomiting in a dog) it is especially important not to experiment with drugs, but to take the animal to the clinic as soon as possible.
Edema due to low blood levels of albumin is diagnosed by measuring the level of total protein and albumin (biochemical blood test). Low levels of albumin can be adjusted with good nutrition and intravenous human albumin. This type of peripheral edema is only a symptom and if there are no additional symptoms that indicate the loss of protein by the body (diarrhea in dogs and malnutrition), then an examination of the internal organs (kidney, liver) is necessary: ultrasound, biochemical analysis of blood, urinalysis.
Transfusion of colloidal solutions (infukol, refortan) and careful use of diuretics can also help in the fight against peripheral edema. For edema associated with impaired renal function, diuretics are prescribed (euphylline, furosemide), as well as glucocorticoids and a salt-free diet.
In dogs, peripheral edema is quite rare due to chronic heart failure. However, when an edema appears in an animal, the doctor should form an opinion about the functioning of the heart, testing the pulse, examining the mucous membranes. If the diagnosis is confirmed, then cardiac glycosides (digitoxin), potassium preparations and diuretics (furosemide) are used to relieve edema.
Rarely, dogs develop local edema due to impaired lymphatic and venous outflow. More often, this swelling appears if, for example, an intravenous catheter is standing in the dog's foot for a long time. Then you need to loosen the patch that catches the catheter. Often there is swelling of the paws after the removal of breast tumors, and with them the removal of axillary or inguinal lymph nodes.
Pulmonary edema in dogs is one of the most dangerous conditions in which fluid accumulates in the alveoli of the lungs. Often it develops at lightning speed and endangers the life of the animal. It can be caused by heart disease (myocarditis, malformations, etc.) and pathological conditions such as shock, pneumonia, gas poisoning, and others. Treatment is prescribed only by a doctor, based on the cause of the edema.