Tonsillitis

Your dog has a pair of tonsils at the back of its throat that help fight infection. Tonsillitis is when these tonsils are inflamed: swollen, red and easily seen.

CAUSES:

The inflammation is caused by:

  • Dental disease: tartar builds on the teeth, the gums become inflamed, and your dog’s tonsils may be affected
  • Any condition in the mouth that allows bacteria to multiply in the throat

Other causes include:

  • Chronic vomiting
  • Chronic productive cough
  • Foreign object stuck in mouth

SIGNS:

Enlarged tonsils are very painful.Signs may include:

  • Gagging
  • Coughing
  • Salivating
  • Licking lips
  • Refusing food (because it is painful to swallow)
  • Listlessness

DIAGNOSIS:

Your veterinarian will simply examine your dog’s tonsils. If they are inflamed, the veterinarian will see them easily.

TREATMENT:

Some treatments your veterinarian may recommend include:

  • Treating the source of infection: teeth cleaning in the case of dental disease
  • Antibiotics: to treat the infection
  • Anti-inflammatory treatment: to relieve pain
  • Tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils): if your dog is not responding to treatment or there is frequent recurrence. This is rarely done because tonsils are crucial in fighting infections.

PREVENTION:

The best preventative measure against tonsillitis is to make sure your dog has excellent oral hygiene.

PROGNOSIS:

The prognosis depends on the underlying cause, but generally, tonsillitis is not a serious condition. In young dogs, tonsillitis often resolves on its own or with the use of antibiotics.

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