A closer look: Blue (Cyanotic) Gums in Dogs
Cyanosis is always an emergency. Stabilization of the patient is the priority, and veterinary care is required. Brachycephalic (push-face) breeds are particularly predisposed to respiratory conditions and cyanosis.
Many conditions can lead to cyanosis. Cyanosis can be categorized into two main subtypes: central and peripheral. Central is caused by conditions that directly affect the heart or lungs, whereas peripheral is an indicator of a problem with blood flow to tissues.
Any condition which limits the supply of oxygen may result in cyanosis if left untreated. Brachycephalic (push-face) breeds and obese dogs are at higher risk of developing cyanosis due to congenital limitations on their ease of respiration even when at rest. There is no significant variance in severity of symptoms; cyanosis is always an emergency.
Testing and diagnosis
After stabilization, several tests are required to determine the possible causes of cyanosis. These tests include:
- Physical examination
- Blood workPulse oximetry to determine the level of oxygen in the blood
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Cardiac ultrasound
Treatment is largely dependent on the underlying condition. For example, heart abnormalities may require surgery, whereas infections, respiratory diseases, or toxicosis can often be treated with specific medications, antibiotics and/or supplemental oxygen.
Sometimes, gums can appear pale, white or gray, which is a separate symptom with different origin.