A dog's tonsils, just as humans, may be prone to getting infected. When this occurs, dogs develop inflamed and enlarged tonsils which leads to tonsillitis. Tonsils are similar to lymph nodes and they present as two masses, located in each side, near the back of the dog's throat. Their main function is to protect the dog's body from viruses and bacteria. Because tonsils play an important role in the dogs immune system, often when they get inflamed this is indicative that they are fighting an infection, very likely located somewhere in the dog's upper airways.
Causes of Tonsillitis in Dogs
Tonsillitis is not a very common disorder but it is mostly seen in small breed dogs rather than the larger ones. In small dogs tonsillitis may develop as a primary inflammation, however, perhaps the most common cause of tonsillitis in dogs is tartar buildup. Tartar may cause periodontal disease which leads to infections of the mouth. Continuous vomiting and coughing may also irritate the back of the throat and cause a case of inflamed tonsils. A foreign object lodged in the back of the dog's throat may also cause a bout of inflamed tonsils. Sticks are a common object found especially in retriever dogs.
Symptoms of Tonsillitis in Dogs
Tonsils under normal conditions are not very visible. However, dogs affected by tonsillitis will exhibit enlarged and inflamed tonsils that can be visible by a throat inspection by a veterinarian. In severe cases, pockets of pus may be visible. When pressure is put near the throat the dog may gag or cough. Fever is not common as in humans. Along with the tonsil's physical appearance, dogs may also exhibit the following symptoms:
-Pain and Difficulty Swallowing
-Refusal to Eat
Treatment of Tonsillitis in Dogs
Dogs affected by inflamed tonsils are usually treated differently depending on the underlying cause. Usually, antibiotics are prescribed to be given as directed. If the infection is triggered by the excessive build up of tartar a dental cleaning is often recommended. If there is excessive coughing a cough suppressant may be prescribed. When there is excessive vomiting, the underlying cause must be found so to provide relief. Foreign objects are removed from the mouth if there is something lodged.
The removal of tonsils (tonsillectomy) is an uncommon procedure in dogs. It is usually left as a last resort in chronic cases and when other treatments have failed.