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    Submandibular Lymphnodes: What's normal and what isn't?
    avatar
    holyfrap posted:
    I'm new here, so hello; but more importantly, I'm new here because I'm looking for a second opinion.

    I recently moved to a new city, and adopted a kitten from a rescue a couple months later. Her name is Peanut Brittle, and she's a cutie. She acts, and appears healthy; except that since I brought her home she's had swollen Submandibular Lymphnodes.

    I wasn't too worried when I adopted her, she was born a stray in this winter season, and I had figured she may have had a reaction to fleas or anything really. But the rescue assured me she had been given the okay by their vet after being given her vaccines and testing negative for Leukaemia.

    However, recently, (as per our rescue contract) she was spayed, despite her swollen lymph nodes. The vet was certain whatever was causing the swelling would not affect her during surgery, and sure enough she came back healthy, if not cranky. However, two weeks later, (today) I was feeling under her jaw to check the swelling. And I realized that, not only has the swelling not gone down but there are two MORE swellings on either side of her existing ones. It feels like she has four large raspberries under her jaw now, (two on each side of her trachea); and despite taking her into the vet again for her opinion I was reassured that she was fine, and that it was just her lymph nodes swelling.

    I am by no means an expert, but I wasn't aware there were four lymph nodes under the jaw; which is why I'm fishing for a second opinion now. I don't want to question the vet's professional integrity; especially in a new city. But I certainly am confused! Any help or answers would be pleasantly appreciated.
    Reply
     
    avatar
    AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
    Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
    You are correct; there are normally only two lymph nodes under the neck. Each are composed, however, of two lobes so they can feel like four. There are also other organs under there, such as thyroid and parathyroid glands, but they are unlikely to be enlarged in young cats.

    More importantly, however, is why they're enlarged. Lymph nodes are usually related to a very specific area. Submandibular nodes "drain" the head and neck, so they're often enlarged from dental disease, upper respiratory infections, etc. It's also important to make sure her other lymph nodes are not also enlarged as this would indicate a more systemic problem, such as Feline Leukemia, FIV, etc. If she's only been tested for these diseases once, she should have a second test to make sure she's really negative.

    If there's no other indication of a problem, it's fairly simple to perform a "Fine Needle Aspirate" of her lymph nodes (sampling the node with a very small needle) to see if that will help diagnose the problem. If your veterinarian is not comfortable with this, ask her to refer you to a board certified feline or internal medical specialist.

    Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
    The Cat Doctor
    Board Certified in Feline Practice
     
    avatar
    holyfrap replied to Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP's response:
    Thank you so much for clearing that up for me; I never knew they could swell like that!

    I had Peanut tested a second time by another vet practice and she came back negative again for Leukemia, but came back positive with some pretty nasty tape worm. The new vet thinks that's where the swelling would have come from.

    She's on some medication now and while her swelling hasn't gone down much it makes me feel at least a little bit better knowing the vet has an idea of what it could be, rather than just shrugging it off.

    Thanks so much for your help, and here's hopping the segments and the worms will be gone soon!


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