Do dogs have tonsils just like humans? Indeed, dogs have two tonsils that are located on the right and left sides of the throat. The role of tonsils is to fight infection much like lymph nodes.
A couple of tonsils are located in small crypts, which are pockets at the rear of the throat area. When the dog is dealing with an infection, the tonsils may increase in size and enlarge so that they can fight off this aggression. When the tonsils grow larger, they become red and swollen, they come out of their housing and are therefore very visible in the back of the throat.
Symptoms of tonsillitis in dogs
When the tonsils get bigger, they usually cause pain to the dog, as a result of which he yawns very often. This reaction is due to the fact that he feels something stuck in the back of his throat and he tries to push it out. Tonsillitis also causes other changes in the dog’s behavior, for example, the dog will be licking his lips very often.
Often times, tonsillitis disrupts the dog’s eating habits, the pain he feels makes swallowing difficult, which is why there is a loss of appetite, the dog is hungry, he makes several trips back and forth to his bowl, but does not feed himself appropriately.
It is also observed that the dog becomes less active than usual when he suffers from tonsillitis but unlike humans, dogs do not have fever when they suffer from this condition.
Do Dogs Have Tonsils? Causes of Tonsillitis
Tonsillitis is generally caused by viruses that are quite common but it can also be triggered by a bacteria such as the Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus) which is causing strep throat. Other strains of strep and other types of bacteria can also result in tonsillitis.
Possible causes leading to inflammation
- An infection.
- When a foreign body gets lodged in the dog’s throat, especially plant fibers.
- Frequent vomiting that continues over a long period of time.
- An untreated cough that lasts.
- Significant dental and gum disease.
- Tumors of the tonsil.
- Bacteria are often the cause of the disease, and bacterial infection can lead to tonsillitis. The most common bacteria found in a culture are: Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and hemolytic streptococci.
Treatments for Tonsillitis in Dogs
Since tonsillitis is usually caused by another problem, the veterinarian will first seek to treat the underlying problem the dog is suffering from.
If the vet finds something lodged in his throat, the vet should remove it and give him antibiotic medication. If the cause of the tonsillitis is a disease affecting the teeth or gums of the dog, the vet will recommend professional teeth cleaning work and possibly other procedures appropriate to the specific condition, which will be followed by antibiotic treatment.
An antibiotic will also be prescribed in case of bacterial tonsillitis. Most cases of viral tonsillitis go away within 7-10 days with watchful waiting. When treated with antibiotics, strep throat can be cured most of the time with just one prescription and the dog will start to feel better within 24 to 48 hours.
If the tonsillitis is secondary to chronic vomiting, an antiemetic will be prescribed to control the vomiting. When the veterinarian sees no response to the dog’s initial antibiotic treatment, he may consider recommending a bacterial culture and susceptibility testing to determine the best treatment. The vet may recommend pain reliever for a few days until the dog has no difficulty swallowing and begins to eat normally.
Veterinarians will rarely recommend the removal of the tonsils because they play a key role in fighting infection of the mouth and throat area, referred to as the oropharyngeal cavity. A tonsillectomy (surgery to remove the tonsils) may be considered in cases of little response to treatment or if the condition is recurring. Recurrent tonsillitis is observed mostly in smaller size dogs.
Dogs with tonsillitis can become dehydrated when they don’t eat or drink. For mild cases, the vet will give subcutaneous fluids (injections under the skin). When a dog is severely dehydrated, intravenous (IV) fluids must be provided to the dog and hospitalization is of course required.
There are also natural treatments to relieve a sore throat caused by tonsillitis, these treatments include giving canned food with added water to soothe the dog’s throat. Honey, which has natural antibiotic properties, can help the underlying condition and soothe a sore throat. It is recommended to give the dog 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey three to four times a day.
Coconut oil also has anti-infective properties which can help treat the underlying cause of a sore throat, but can cause loose stools in dogs. Two teaspoons of coconut oil per 10 pounds of the dog’s weight can be given on a daily and will help to fight infections.
Do Dogs Have Tonsils? Prevention tips
Since tonsillitis is usually associated with another disease, it is very difficult to prevent. Once diagnosed with tonsillitis, appropriate treatment usually resolves the disease. In order to prevent tonsillitis in dogs, it will be necessary to ensure that the dog has good dental hygiene, and its teeth are regularly brushed. It is also advisable to use only good quality chew toys. The options available to prevent tonsillitis in dogs are very limited, there are no other ways to protect your dog against this disease.
Dog insurance coverage for inflammation of the lymph nodes
Treatment of inflammation of the lymph nodes must necessarily be done after consultation with a veterinarian who can provide appropriate care for the dog and can be quite costly. Appropriate insurance can allow dog owners to guarantee quality veterinary treatment to their dog without worrying about the cost. In order to cope with the various unforeseen health issues that could possibly arise, and to offer your dog the most appropriate treatment of diseases it may suffer, it is advisable to consider dog health insurance.
Of course, the best time to get pet insurance is before the pet gets sick and has recurring medical problems. It is advisable to contact the primary care veterinarian for more information on the animal’s health, breed (for genetic conditions) and current conditions. The veterinarian may be able to provide more information about the animal which may be useful in choosing the most suitable coverage.
Transmission between humans and dogs
Not only do dogs have tonsils just like humans but most cases of tonsillitis are caused by bacteria that are normally amd naturally found in the mouths of dogs and humans. Therefore, transmission between humans and dogs is only possible if the disease is caused by an unusual bacteria.
Streptococcus pyogenes is the cause of strep throat in humans, it does not cause tonsillitis in dogs or cats, however, cats can contract a transient infection with this bacteria when in contact with a human with strep throat.
Although they don’t get strep throat, they can harbor the bacteria that are the source of other human infections. Therefore, it is suggested that dogs be treated when family members have strep throat, especially if recurring infections occur in the household.