Cyanosis in Dogs

If you observe your dog's skin turning purple or bluish, it could be a sign of cyanosis. In this blog post, our veterinarians in Novato discuss the details of the causes, risks, treatment options, and prognosis of cyanosis in dogs.

Why is my dog's tongue blue?

If you notice your dog's skin turning blue or purple, it may indicate cyanosis, a condition suggesting insufficient oxygen supply to the body tissues. The causes of cyanosis vary but are all related to blood vessels near the skin's surface.

What are the signs & symptoms of cyanosis in dogs? 

While the main symptom of cyanosis is blue skin on dogs, there may be other indicators, including:

  • Respiratory distress, such as panting
  • Coughing or wheezing. 
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Collapsing

If your dog shows signs of cyanosis, such as blue or purple gums, tongue, or skin discoloration, seek emergency care immediately. Cyanosis may indicate heart or lung problems, so seeing a veterinarian as soon as possible is essential to identify the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.

What causes dogs to experience cyanosis?

The respiratory system typically plays a role in the conditions that cause cyanosis in dogs. These conditions encompass:

  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Choking
  • Anemia
  • Heart problem
  • Heartworm disease 
  • Paralysis of the larynx 

Are there any other significant causes of cyanosis in dogs?

Conditions such as asthma, pneumonia, smoke inhalation, choking, anemia, heart problems, heartworm disease, and larynx paralysis are common causes of cyanosis in dogs. Trauma affecting the diaphragm or chest wall muscles, as well as conditions affecting the nervous system, can also lead to cyanosis.

How is cyanosis in dogs diagnosed?

Veterinarians will conduct a physical examination and use a pulse oximeter to measure oxygen levels. Veterinarians may recommend diagnostic tests such as blood work and X-rays to identify underlying causes.

Can cyanosis in dogs be cured?

Cyanosis treatment involves addressing the underlying cause. Administering oxygen and removing excess fluid or medication may be necessary. Long-term effects may vary depending on the severity and duration of the condition.

What are the treatment options?

Treatment usually involves administering oxygen and addressing the underlying cause. Your vet may recommend changes to your pet's routine or diet. Remember, this information is for guidance only; consulting a vet for an accurate diagnosis is essential.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

If you notice signs of cyanosis in your dog, seek emergency care immediately. Contact our team at South Novato Animal Hospital or your nearest emergency animal hospital.