Structure and Function of the Spleen in Dogs

Below is information about the structure and function of the canine spleen. We will tell you about the general structure of the spleen, how the spleen works in dogs, common diseases that affect the spleen and common diagnostic tests performed in dogs to evaluate the spleen. Many diseases and disorders of the spleen start with “Splen-” for example splenomegaly means enlargement of the spleen.

What Is the Spleen?

The dog’s spleen is an elongated organ located in the abdomen. Though not essential for life, the spleen performs important functions related to the blood and lymph systems. The spleen filters the blood and participates in various immune functions.

Where Is the Spleen Located in Dogs?

The spleen is located near the stomach in the left forward part of the abdomen. The exact location of the spleen depends upon its size and shape and is affected by the size of the surrounding organs, such as the fullness of the stomach.

What Is the General Structure of the Canine Spleen?

The spleen is a relatively large, dark red organ that is supplied with numerous blood vessels. The normal spleen is shaped somewhat like a tongue and is considerably longer than it is wide and slightly constricted in the middle. It is covered by a tough capsule of fibrous tissue. Bblood vessels enter and exit the spleen at one end, which is called the “pedicle.” The size of the spleen varies, and it can become engorged with blood under some circumstances. The internal structure of the spleen consists of:

What Are the Functions of the Spleen in Dogs?

The spleen has five main functions:

What Are Common Diseases of the Spleen in Dogs?

The spleen can be a site of primary disease involving only that organ or it may become involved in a disease that affects many parts of the body. As a general rule, dogs are prone to enlargement, tumors and other growths of the spleen. Some common diseases of the spleen are:

What Types of Diagnostic Tests Are Used to Evaluate the Spleen?

Several tests are particularly helpful in evaluating the spleen. These include