Do you know what it means when your dog has pale mucous membranes, such as gums? Do you think it would be an emergency?
Pale, gray or white mucous membranes can be a sign of anemia, shock, blood loss or, severe dehydration, and more. The first thing that would be on my mind is anemia, an insufficient amount of red blood cells. Why is that a problem? Because not enough red blood cells means not enough oxygen for the body to function. That’s why pale gums are an emergency.
What can cause anemia?
That’s what your veterinarian needs to figure out as soon as possible. In general, anemia is caused by one of the following problems:
- blood loss
- red blood cells destructions
- decreased production of red blood cells
Bailey was a two-year-old Husky. Her parents were on their honeymoon. Bailey’s sitters called them to report that Bailey wasn’t quite herself.
It seemed logical that missing her parents and having to stay in a different house would make Bailey sad and change her behavior. She was quiet, withdrawn and not interested in activity or interaction.
Then Bailey’s sitters reported that her gums were pale too.
Unfortunately, the news did not trigger a red flag in Bailey’s parents. It would have but it did not. It is so important to be aware of the signs of a medical emergency.
The symptoms continue
Bailey kept getting better and then worse the whole while. One day she’d show a little improvement, the next day get worse again. She wasn’t playing or eating. Her gums would pink up a little bit every not and then but mostly remained pale and even white.
When her parents returned, they finally did realize something was not right with Bailey.
At the veterinarian
Normal gum color can differ from breed to breed. The gums of white dogs do have color that is naturally paler.
Bailey’s gums were a muddy pale color—definitely not normal for any breed. Bailey’s veterinarian recognized an emergency right away.
Further examination also revealed that Bailey had an increased heart and respiratory rate and a palpable mass in her belly.
Then Bailey’s urine turned orange.
Are you getting an idea what was wrong with Bailey? Would you recognize her signs as an emergency it was? What would you do if it was your dog?
Anemia in Dogs