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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23841
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My dog is 12 and has a heart murmer. She needed her teeth cleaned

Customer Question

my dog is 12 and has a heart murmer. She needed her teeth cleaned and when I asked the vet, they said her murmer was significant and didn't advise it. This was because of anesthia. His gums are now black, what is going on?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.
Please take another look at Rikky's gums for me. Bluish/greyish would indicate cyanosis/hypoxia (lack of oxygen in his tissues) which would be consistent with advanced heart disease. Black, however, indicates normal pigment or melanoma. Melanoma - a dangerous cancer - would usually appear in one location, be raised from the gums, and be associated with inflammation (redness). Please let me know what you find.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.

The gums are like a blue-black. He doesn't like me looking at them. He has a small gumball size hard lump on the back of his neck about the width of your finger. It is not attached at the bottom just the top so you can move the scruff. I also noticed a large soft mass on the top of his chest and a small corn kernel size hard one near the bottom of that. If his heart is bad I can't do anything about it.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for checking for me. There would be nothing practical to do if you're looking at cancer in his mouth but if the blue/black indicates cyanosis instead, you can address his heart condition with a combination of pimobendan - a heart drug with many beneficial effects, enalapril - an ACE inhibitor which helps manage his blood pressure, and a diuretic such as furosemide which makes it easier for his heart to work. Most miniature dogs such as Rikky suffer from myxomatous valve disease ("leaky valves") and this disease usually responds quite well to those drugs and extends the lifespan of these dogs for 1-2 years.Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.

Would this be diagnosed with x-rays? He can't go under. Thank you so very much for your input I really appreciate it. Have a great evening

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.
Yes, X-rays should be next. You're quite welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience.