Linda Arndt ~ Canine Nutritional Consultant

Lymphodema - Swollen Feet

Lymphodema is a condition in dogs that shows up in the lower limbs of the body. Fluid pools in the feet, hock area of the dog when there is improper drainage in the lymph nodes. It can happen in one or multiple legs. This also can happen in people after cancer surgery, which may involve removing parts of the lymph system or if it has been damage to the lymphatic system. Here are the methods used in humans and these work on dogs as well.

Manual Lymph Drainage (MDL) - MLD involves distinctive massage techniques using a variation of pressure designed to increase the work of the lymphatic system by removing fluid from the affected area. If part of the lymph nodes or vessels have been removed or damaged, the therapist uses specific techniques to move fluid to other parts of the body that are working properly. If you can't find a massage therapist that does lymphatic massage for pets, then find one that works on humans and see if they will work on your pet. The lymph nodes are in the same places on pets are they are on humans...just picture the pet laying down flat on it's back to locate the lymph nodes.

Compression Bandaging - After several treatments, the human patient is fitted with a custom compression garment. This will help keep the swelling down and help the lymph vessels work better by providing firm pressure during exercise.

Exercise - Exercise is an important part of the program. During exercise, muscles help pump and drain lymph fluid out of the arm or leg. Patients are taught a home exercise program. Walking and swimming are also recommended as excellent forms of exercise. This is all true for dogs as well, swimming and walking help a great deal along with lymphatic massage.

A comprehensive feed program along with Nzymes, a powerful detoxifying supplement, helps a great deal in keeping the immune system functioning properly and the body cleansed. In addition to these helpful options, I highly recommend using the herb Milk Thistle for detoxification. This you can purchase at the health food store. In extreme cases steroids are often used, but consult with your veterinarian regarding the use of steroids.

On left photo, note the roundness, puffiness in the area above the toe joints on the foot in the foreground, compared to the foot in the background, which is more defined. Also note the fold of skin on the right photo, which looks like baggy panty hose, it is filled with fluid. This is a mild case of lymphodema.

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