Can a Dog Take Probiotics if Spleen Was Removed

When considering the health of our furry friends, it’s natural to ponder whether certain supplements or treatments would be suitable for them. One such question that may cross a pet owner's mind is whether a dog can take probiotics if their spleen has been removed. The spleen plays an important role in the immune system and the removal of this organ can have implications on a dog's overall health. However, probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that support digestive health, may still be beneficial even in the absence of a spleen. By exploring the potential benefits and considerations for administering probiotics to dogs who’ve undergone splenectomy, we can gain a better understanding of whether such supplements are safe and beneficial for their well-being.

What Happens to a Dog Without a Spleen?

The spleen is an important organ in a dogs body, as it plays a vital role in filtering and recycling red blood cells, as well as helping to fight infections. However, it isn’t essential for a dogs survival. In fact, dogs can live perfectly normal lives without a spleen.

A splenectomy, the surgical removal of the spleen, is sometimes necessary if a dog develops a malignant tumor in this organ. During the recovery period following the procedure, it’s important to closely monitor the dogs condition to ensure proper healing and to prevent any complications.

How to Care for a Dog After Spleen Removal Surgery to Promote Healing and Minimize Complications

  • Follow all post-operative instructions provided by your veterinarian.
  • Administer any prescribed medications as directed.
  • Monitor the incision site for any signs of infection, such as excessive redness, swelling, or discharge.
  • Prevent your dog from licking or chewing at the incision by using an Elizabethan collar.
  • Restrict your dog’s activity levels to prevent excessive strain on the healing surgical site.
  • Provide a calm and quiet environment for your dog to rest and recover.
  • Ensure your dog drinks plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Feed your dog a prescribed diet that promotes healing and is easy to digest.
  • Monitor your dog’s appetite and report any changes to your veterinarian.
  • Keep your dog’s living area clean and sanitary to avoid infection.
  • Attend all follow-up appointments with your veterinarian for ongoing evaluation and care.

After the spleen is removed, it’s important to be aware of the potential consequences. While other organs can compensate for the spleen’s functions, there’s a small but persistent risk of developing a serious infection that can have lasting implications. Understanding this risk is crucial for maintaining one’s health and seeking appropriate medical care when necessary.

What Condition Can Occur After the Spleen Is Removed?

When the spleen is removed, a condition called splenectomy-related infection risk (SIR) can potentially occur. The spleen plays a crucial role in the bodys immune system as it filters the blood, removing old and damaged red blood cells, as well as recognizing and eliminating foreign pathogens. Without a spleen, other organs like the liver take over some of these functions to maintain immune responses.

However, the absence of a spleen can leave individuals more susceptible to infections, particularly from encapsulated bacteria, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, and Haemophilus influenzae type b. These microorganisms have a polysaccharide capsule that allows them to evade the immune system. When the spleen is intact, it recognizes and facilitates the destruction of these bacteria. Without a spleen, the ability to eliminate such pathogens is compromised.

Therefore, after spleen removal, individuals face a lifelong risk of developing serious infections, known as overwhelming postsplenectomy infection (OPSI) or sepsis. OPSI can progress rapidly, causing severe and life-threatening complications. The risk of OPSI is higher in children, older adults, and individuals with certain medical conditions, such as sickle cell disease or immune disorders.

To reduce the risk of infections, individuals without a spleen are often recommended to receive vaccinations against organisms that commonly cause infections in this population. Vaccines against Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, and Haemophilus influenzae type b are typically given. Additionally, maintaining good hygiene practices, promptly seeking medical attention when ill, and taking prophylactic antibiotics in certain situations can also help mitigate the risk of infections.

It’s important for individuals who’ve undergone spleen removal to be aware of the signs and symptoms of infection and seek immediate medical attention if they occur. These may include high fever, chills, rapid breathing, severe headache, abdominal pain, or any other signs of systemic illness. Prompt medical intervention can make a significant difference in preventing the progression of infections and reducing the associated risks. Regular follow-up with healthcare providers is also crucial to monitor and manage the long-term health implications of spleen removal.

There are various factors that can lead to splenomegaly in dogs, a condition characterized by an enlarged spleen. Infections, including liver, intestinal, stomach, and bloodborne infections, are among the common causes.

What Causes a Dog’s Spleen to Go Bad?

Splenomegaly, or an enlarged spleen, in dogs can stem from various underlying factors. One common cause is infections, including liver infections, intestinal or stomach infections, and bloodborne infections. These infections can compromise the normal functioning of the spleen and lead to it’s enlargement.

Liver infections, also known as hepatitis, can trigger splenomegaly in dogs. This condition may arise from viral, bacterial, or fungal infections that affect the liver. When the liver becomes infected, it can result in inflammation and subsequent enlargement of the spleen.

Intestinal or stomach infections are another possible cause of splenomegaly. These infections can be caused by parasites, bacteria, or viruses that affect the gastrointestinal system.

Certain diseases, such as tick-borne illnesses, can be transmitted through the bloodstream and affect multiple organs, including the spleen.

It’s important to note that splenomegaly itself is usually a symptom or an indicator of an underlying condition rather than a diagnosis on it’s own.

With a proper diagnosis, veterinarians can develop a treatment plan tailored to the specific cause of the splenomegaly, aiming to address the root issue and alleviate the enlargement of the spleen.

Differentiating Between Primary and Secondary Splenomegaly in Dogs

  • Primary Splenomegaly in Dogs:
    • Occurs when there’s an abnormal increase in the size of the spleen due to a primary disease in the spleen itself.
    • Possible causes include splenic tumors, such as hemangiosarcoma, and other types of cancer.
    • Symptoms may include lethargy, weight loss, abdominal distension, and anemia.
    • Diagnostic techniques may include imaging studies, such as ultrasound or CT scan, and biopsy.
    • Treatment options depend on the specific disease and may include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.
  • Secondary Splenomegaly in Dogs:
    • Occurs when there’s an increase in spleen size due to an underlying disease or condition outside of the spleen.
    • Possible causes include liver disease, heart disease, immune-mediated disorders, and infections.
    • Symptoms may vary depending on the underlying condition but can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice.
    • Diagnostic techniques may include blood tests, imaging studies, and further investigations to determine the underlying cause.
    • Treatment options focus on addressing and treating the underlying condition or disease.

This diet is specifically designed to support dogs with compromised immune systems, ensuring they receive the right balance of nutrients without overwhelming their bodies. By following the Volhard Rescue Diet, you can provide your dog with the necessary support to thrive even after spleen removal.

Do Dogs Need a Special Diet After Spleen Removal?

This diet is specifically designed for dogs recovering from surgery or with compromised immune systems. It focuses on providing easily digestible proteins, such as lean meats like chicken or turkey, and avoiding common allergens like grains and gluten. These ingredients are essential in supporting optimal digestion and reducing any potential inflammatory responses in the body.

Additionally, the Volhard Rescue Diet includes appropriate sources of carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes or vegetables, to provide necessary energy while still being gentle on the digestive system. It also includes beneficial supplements like omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics, which can further support the immune system and promote overall health.

It’s important to note that every dog is different, and their nutritional needs may vary based on factors such as age, weight, and overall health. It’s recommended to consult with your veterinarian to develop a customized diet plan that takes into account your dogs specific needs and any potential dietary restrictions.

In summary, while dogs don’t necessarily need a special diet after spleen removal, it’s important to provide them with a balanced and easily digestible diet to support their immune system and overall health. The Volhard Rescue Diet is one option that can meet these requirements, but it’s always recommended to consult with a veterinarian for personalized dietary recommendations.

The Potential Benefits of Supplementing a Dog’s Diet With Additional Vitamins and Minerals After Spleen Removal

  • Improved immune function
  • Enhanced wound healing
  • Reduced risk of infections
  • Promotion of healthy skin and coat
  • Support for organ function
  • Optimal nutrient absorption
  • Increase in energy levels
  • Minimization of nutritional deficiencies
  • Protection against oxidative stress
  • Aid in post-surgery recovery


While probiotics can offer potential benefits in promoting digestive health and supporting immune function, there’s a lack of specific research on the effects of probiotics in dogs without a spleen. Factors such as the individual dog's overall health, specific medical conditions, and the type of probiotics being considered should all be taken into account. The veterinarian's expertise will be invaluable in determining whether probiotics are suitable for the dog and selecting the most appropriate product and dosage. Ultimately, the well-being and comfort of the dog should guide any decision regarding their dietary or health regimen.

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