Cyanosis (Blue Coloration) in Dogs - Page 5

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Cyanosis (Blue Coloration) in Dogs

By: Dr. Arnold Plotnick

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Treatment In-depth

One or more of the diagnostic tests described above may be recommended by your veterinarian. In the meantime, treatment of the symptoms might be needed, especially if the problem is severe. The following nonspecific symptomatic treatments may be applicable to some pets with cyanosis. These treatments may reduce the severity of symptoms or provide relief for your pet. However, nonspecific therapy is not a substitute for definite treatment of the underlying disease responsible for your pet's condition.

Therapy of cyanosis is dependent on understanding the cause of the condition.

  • Peripheral cyanosis. Peripheral cyanosis is usually not life threatening. Therapy is directed more toward the underlying disease. For example, a dog with a blood clot that has cut off circulation to a leg, causing cyanosis to the foot pads, acquires this condition secondary to severe heart disease. The main concern in this instance is getting the heart disease under control. The cyanosis is of much less significance.

  • Central cyanosis is treated as an emergency until the cause of the cyanosis can be determined.

    Emergency Measures

    Provide supplemental oxygen. In cases of central cyanosis, a reduced supply of oxygen is to be assumed until it can be disproved and supplemental oxygen is to be provided until the actual cause can be ascertained. Obvious mechanical obstructions to airflow (such as a foreign body in the mouth or throat) are removed and a patent airway is established. Then, oxygen is administered immediately either by face mask, a nasal oxygen tube, an oxygen cage, or endotracheal intubation.

    If congenital heart disease is the cause of cyanosis, the treatment may involve surgery to correct the defect.

    If respiratory disease is the cause, the treatment is:

  • Thoracocentesis to remove pus, blood, lymphatic fluid (chyle), or air that may be impeding the ability of the lungs to expand

  • Antibiotics to treat infection

  • Nebulization (use of a vaporizer) to moisten and loosen tenacious secretions down in the lungs and, possibly, to deliver antibiotics or other drugs down into the lungs

    If excessive amounts of methemoglobin is the cause of the cyanosis, treatment involves:

  • Elimination of the cause of the formation of the methemoglobin

  • Acetylcysteine (Mucomyst®) can be given to dogs who have received a toxic dose of Tylenol®

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