My 11 year old (approx.-he's a shelter dog so it's our best guess) has a lymph node in front of his shoulder that's been swollen for about a week now. It's about the size if a marble and I found it during a cuddle session. It doesn't hurt him.
He has been normal otherwise- eating, drinking, pooping, sleeping and playing normally. Normal temp, normal pulse, bright eyed and bushy tailed!
I can and will take him to the vet, but my schedule for the next month makes it a little bit difficult to do it conveniently (I use an EXCELLENT vet about an hour and a half away..close to my old dwelling.)
Should I be worried? Panicked? Nothing?
Am I hurting him by not calling out of work tomorrow and taking him in ASAP?
Thanks in advance...
I would get him in for a checkup sooner rather than later. Lymphoma often presents with hard, swollen lymph nodes...however, its usually more common for a "pair" to be up (ie. both pre-scapular lymph nodes),or other peripheral ones such as popliteal or submandibular. It might be nothing, especially if it hasnt changed in size or firmness at all - but, best to be safe than sorry
Prescapular ones are not usually the easiest to palpate, are you positive its a lymph node?
Squish, I'm about 95% sure it's his lymph node but I didn't go to vet school and I'm no vet tech so I am willing to admit that there is a possibility that I am wrong. I will try to make time to get him in to an appointment sooner rather than later...and if its nothing at least my over active fear mongering imagination will be put to sleep. It's definitely a one-sided issue- I went over him with a fine tooth comb (annoying the crap out of him in the process) and found no other abnormalities other than the ones he came with that have been previously checked out.
If it were lymphoma, would there be any other symptoms early on? Anything else i should look for? It's been the same size, shape and density since I found it.
Classic lymphoma presents in pairs of peripheral or abdominal lymph nodes, often they are enlarged or normal size and firm. Early on,there are no symptoms...dogs are typically happy,eating,wagging tails etc.
I would say theres a fairly good chance its not lymphoma if its just one firm lymph node. A local reaction or infection in the area can cause the LN to get put to work (ever noticed when you get a cold, you sometimes get a little firm lump on your neck? This is a LN doing its job). Sometimes, the lymphatic system can just become scarred, so one permanently hard small lymph node could be normal.
I wouldnt panic, but to put your mind at ease having a vet do a thorough feel for other enlarged nodes (and spleen/liver - as often lymphoma will cause slight enlargement of these organs). A fine needle aspirate of the node may be useful to distinguish between a reactive and neoplastic response