We frequently ignore the spleen and its significant function within both human and canine anatomy. Even though we tend to overlook its significance, the spleen helps to filter our blood, fight germs, and regulate damaged cells. This critical immune booster stops infection, but over time, the spleen can become damaged, leading to potential hemorrhaging or ruptures. For dogs, spleen removal or splenectomy could become critical when this trauma, rupturing, or hemorrhaging occurs. In less severe cases, both internal and external factors can gradually put pressure on the spleen, sometimes even causing splenic tumors.
- The spleen is the largest organ in the lymphatic system.
- The spleen can usually be removed with almost no problems; however, life-threatening complications may result if the organ ruptures.
- Many patients with splenic masses present with vague clinical signs.
Like all internal concerns, a properly balanced diet is key to ensuring that your dog's spleen will be healthy and strong enough to beat back tumors and other unwanted medical issues. So, let us thoroughly examine the role of the dog's spleen and learn more about its strengths and potential weaknesses, along with providing Volhard’s 21 day diet to assist your canine with an easy-to-digest immune boost.
The Spleen's Role in Canine Anatomy
The spleen is a slipper-shaped vascular organ situated in the left hypogastric region, approximately parallel to the greater curvature of the stomach. It plays the role of a blood storage tank that creates, filters and removes red blood cells. Aside from this hematologic function, the spleen also acts as the stomach's "food truck"- it receives food from the stomach and turns it into nutrients, which it then transports the nutrients throughout the body.
The spleen also plays an essential role in the canine lymphatic system. It connects with other lymph nodes through a series of vessels to distribute lymph (a milky liquid rich with proteins, fats, and lymphocytes) throughout the canine body. The lymphatic system's importance to the body's proper functionality cannot be overstated, as it filters and removes worn-out erythrocytes from the blood circulation and absorbs nutrients.
What Happens After A Canine Spleen Removal?
Even without the spleen,your dog can thrive and live a happy life. In its absence, such as after a spleen removal, other tissues will step up to perform the spleen's normal functions. However, a weak (or lack of a) spleen impedes proper food nutrient usage, causing lethargy. An unhealthy spleen could easily lead to pathogen overload, as the body finds it harder to defend against food-based bacteria. After a spleen removal, your dog will certainly need an extra boost to stay healthy. If you have more questions about your canine’s life after a spleen removal, you can contact us for a personal consultation.
Conditions Associated with the Stomach and Spleen
An unhealthy spleen affects the equilibrium of the surrounding organ. According to the Chinese Five-Element Theory (i.e., the link between natural elements, the seasons, and the bodies of humans and animals alike), late summer, corresponding to the Earth element, is when issues associated with stomach and spleen occur most frequently, worsened by moisture. Here are the primary spleen and stomach issues which you should look out for in your dog:
- Burning sensation in the stomach and unusual hunger
- Abdominal distention, gastritis, edema
- Vomiting yellow bile (especially between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.)
- Vomiting food immediately after eating
- Obesity/inability to put on weight
- Bleeding from the gums, bad breath accompanied by constipation
- Yellow discharge from the eyes or genitals
- Pain around the mouth and tongue, dirty teeth, foul-smelling breath, bleeding gums
- Swallowing difficulties and gagging
- Hair that falls out in clumps
- A general feeling of fatigue
- Loss of appetite
Signs of fatigue or inflammation in the spleen might translate into additional medical issues. Following the Five-Element Theory tenants, we know that the canine anatomy is a closely knitted system; distress in one organ could be the sign of pressure from other organs; one malfunctioning element puts its load on another. Be sure to understand your canine’s issues thoroughly before diving into a surgery with only half of the information.
Homeopathic Remedies That Help Spleen Issues
The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat spleen diseases but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat spleen diseases that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of spleen diseases:
Arsenic Album – induration and enlargement of spleen; drawing, stitching pain under left hypochondrium, burning in stomach, followed by vomiting of blood; soreness to touch in region of spleen; frequent bloody diarrhea; softening of spleen.
China – swelling and hardness of the spleen, which is painful and tender, with aching and stitching pains in the spleen when walking slowly; pains extend in the direction of the long axis of the spleen; enlarged spleen.
Ceanothus – the only sphere of action of this remedy seems to be splenic troubles, its indications are deep seated pain in the splenic region, deep stitches, worse in damp weather, with enlargement of the spleen; chronic pains in the spleen.
Conium – enlargement of spleen with melancholia and torpid action of bowels; sensation of heaviness through abdomen.
Aranea Diadema – enlarged spleen, especially useful for chronic effects of malarial poisoning or in those who live in damp, wet places.
Chininum Sulph – congestion, inflammation and enlargement of the spleen.
Calcaria Carb – enlarged spleen; soreness about hypochondria, cannot bear anything tight around there; stitches in left side on bending towards it; abdomen distended.
Sulphur – stitches in spleen, aggravation when taking a deep inspiration and when walking; stitches in left side of abdomen when coughing; dropsical swellings of external parts.
21-Day Stomach & Spleen Cleansing & Balancing Diet for a 50-Pound Dog
Here at Volhard, we have dealt with canines with joint stomach and spleen cases in the past. Learning from this experience, we came up with a 21-day diet designed to cleanse your dog's body and rebalance its nutritional plan before implementing a friendlier, antifungal, antiparasitic diet!
Here is an example of our Cleansing & Balancing 21 Day Diet for a 50-pound dog (assumed to be fed twice daily):
1/3rd of diet: Using only one at a time - beef with a small amount of beef liver, chicken, turkey, lamb, or slightly cooked white fish.
1/3rd of diet: Using only one at a time, rotating the grains, or mixing them together -- brown rice, spelt, millet, or quinoa.
1/3rd of diet: Use only one at a time, rotating the vegetables or combining them together (lightly steam the vegetables or put them through a food processor) - sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, parsnips, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, green beans, or yellow beans.
2 teaspoons of dried herbs. Use two or three together and rotate through a collection: peppermint, parsley, chamomile, catnip, comfrey root, goldenrod, licorice, fennel, ginseng, kelp, and blessed thistle.
2 teaspoons of fresh apricots daily.
Use your typical supplements in both the canine’s morning and evening meals. If you do not typically provide supplements, we recommend the following during the 21 day diet:
1 tablet Hydrozyme (stomach enzyme)
1 gram Vitamin C, (calcium ascorbate) - start with 500 mg., then slowly increase to 1 gram
1 teaspoon cold pressed sunflower oil
1 teaspoon black strap molasses
1/4th teaspoon Endurance (vit/min mix) -- in a.m. only
200 IU. Vitamin E in a.m. only
1 tablet Spleen PMG - spleen glandular in the morning.
Putting Your Dog on the Volhard Rescue Diet
Your dog's immune system will require a lighter, low-bacteria diet to supplement a sick or missing spleen; otherwise, he could experience a pathogen overload and strain his immune system.
The answer for your dog may lie in the Volhard Rescue Diet: an anti-inflammatory, hypoallergenic, grain free and gluten-free diet. Its rich vitamin, mineral, and amino acid composition makes the Rescue Diet ideal for supporting the kidneys, heart, lungs, stomach, spleen, and digestive tract, along with dogs who may have weaknesses in those internal organs. Furthermore, the Volhard Rescue Diet reduces inflammation while combating and preventing severe health conditions, such as potential, future spleen rupture. All you have to do to prepare the Rescue diet is mix it with water in a bowl, add meat (preferably raw 80/20 gently cooked beef), and serve! Specifically for dogs with spleen issues or who are immunocompromised, we recommend that you cook the meat beforehand to remove any excess bacteria, which could help to crash the already weak systems.
Your dog's well-being does not have to be conditioned by his spleen health or removal. Here at Volhard Dog Nutrition, we have created these Rescue and 21 day diets to support you and your canine through any immunodeficiency or spleen issues that they may face in the future. Foods that tone up the spleen are: pears, potatoes, cucumber, carrots, melon, cereals, honey, cinnamon and aniseed. Do not forget that there are homeopathic remedies that might be appropriate to help in the healing of the spleen. As always, our goal is to improve your dog’s health in a natural, chemical-free way. Are you ready to learn more about Volhard and our mission? Feel free to contact us or check out our blog!