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Peripheral Lymphadenopathy in Dogs: Differential Diagnoses

Ann Hohenhaus, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM, Oncology), The Schwarzman Animal Medical Center, New York, New York

Internal Medicine

|January 2023|Peer Reviewed

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Following are differential diagnoses for dogs presented with peripheral lymphadenopathy.

  • Neoplastic
    • Lymphoproliferative
      • Lymphoma
      • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
      • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
    • Metastatic neoplasia (common causes)
      • Carcinoma (eg, mammary gland carcinoma, thyroid carcinoma, oral squamous cell carcinoma) 
      • Sarcoma (eg, soft tissue sarcoma, histiocytic sarcoma)
      • Mast cell tumor
      • Melanoma (oral or digit)
  • Reactive
    • Infectious 
      • Systemic fungal infection
        • Blastomycosis (ie, Blastomyces dermatitidis)
        • Histoplasmosis (ie, Histoplasma capuslatum)
        • Coccidioidomycosis (ie, Coccidioides immitis)
        • Sporotrichosis (ie, Sporothrix schenckii)
        • Aspergillosis (eg, Aspergillus fumigatus, A flavus)
        • Pythiosis (ie, Pythium insidiosum)
      • Bacterial infection
        • Brucellosis (ie, Brucella canis
        • Nocardiosis (ie, Nocardia spp)
        • Plague (ie, Yersinia pestis)
      • Vector-borne disease (coinfection is common)
        • Ehrlichiosis (eg, Ehrlichia canis, E chaffeensis, E ewingi, E equi)
        • Anaplasmosis (ie, Anaplasma phagocytophilum
        • Neorickettsiosis (ie, Neorickettsia risticii)
        • Salmon poisoning disease (ie, Neorickettsia helminthoeca)
        • Bartonellosis (eg, Bartonella henselae,1 B clarridgeiae, B vinsonii
        • Rocky Mountain spotted fever (ie, Rickettsia rickettsii
        • Leishmaniasis (eg, Leishmania infantum, L donovani)
        • Babesiosis (ie, Babesia canis)
        • Hepatozoonosis (ie, Hepatozoon americanum)
    • Severe generalized pyoderma
      • Primary bacterial pyoderma
      • Secondary bacterial pyoderma
        • Atopy
        • Demodectic mange
        • Sarcoptic mange
        • Sebaceous adenitis
  • Inflammatory, noninfectious 
    • Cutaneous lupus erythematosus2  
    • Juvenile sterile granulomatous dermatitis and lymphadenitis (ie, juvenile cellulitis, puppy strangles)    
    • Adult-onset sterile granulomatous dermatitis and lymphadenitis (ie, juvenile cellulitis)3
  • Other
    • Phenobarbital-induced pseudolymphoma4


For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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