Canine Intestinal Lymphangiectasia (Lymph Node Inflammation)

As part of the normal circulatory system, lymph fluid is collected from tissues throughout the body and returned to the blood via lymphatic vessels. In intestinal lymphangiectasia, normal drainage is blocked so that intestinal lymph leaks into the intestines instead of being returned to the circulation. This results in the loss of proteins, lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell), and lipids or fats into the stool.

Intestinal lymphangiectasia may be congenital (present from birth) due to malformation of the lymphatic system, or it may be acquired in association with another disease.


Vomiting, weight loss, build-up of fluid in the abdomen and under the skin, excessive gas in stomach or intestines, difficulty breathing from the build-up of fluid between chest wall and lungs (pleural), chronic long-term diarrhoea which may be continuous or intermittent.


Signs can present and develop slowly over several months, and may come and go. A dog may fail to gain weight or may progressively lose weight. The loss of protein into the bowel causes loss of fluid from the circulation into the limbs, the abdomen, or the chest. A dog’s legs and/or abdomen may appear swollen and he/she may have trouble breathing. There may be chronic persistent or intermittent diarrhoea due to the loss of protein, fluid and fat into the bowel.