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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28503
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My dogs tongue has turned very red and inside of his mouth

Customer Question

My dogs tongue has turned very red and inside of his mouth is very warm
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
When tissues become so red we define them as being "injected". Injection is seen with high blood pressure and dehydration. A healthy young dog who's been exercising strenuously may exhibit these signs. A seriously ill dog with sepsis (overwhelming infection) or high blood pressure secondary to many different internal medical diseases may show these signs. As you can see, the mere presence of a very red tongue and warm mouth simply suggests that we need to know what else is going on at the time. If there are other symptoms you'd like to discuss with me, please do so.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
He has lots of energy and play, but hasnt been eating very well or often. He drinks plenty
of water.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 years ago.
If Bruno has lots of energy and play, I have to assume that his caloric intake is sufficient. If he had progressive weight loss I'd be concerned that he wasn't eating enough. Is he maintaining his weight? Is he nicely muscled?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
seems to be all muscle, has lost some weight but its like he only eats to survive. Have taken him off any dog foods with dye in them..even put him on rice and hamburger, rice and chicken and rice and tuna. will eat it one time and not the next. and now the issue with his tongue turning red
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 years ago.
It's hard to imagine a seriously ill dog who has lots of energy and play. He sounds like a healthy intact male Akita who isn't obsessed with food like Labs are. Akitas have been found, however, to develop a rare blood disorder called polycythemia more so than most other breeds. Polycythemia describes there being too many red blood cells in the blood stream. That would naturally cause tissues to appear more red. This is a very rare disease, however. If you feel that his eating is truly abnormal that's good enough for me. Have his vet check him out and make sure that Bruno's PCV (packed cell volume) - a measure of his red blood cell count - is checked. We don't want to overlook the rare polycythemia. Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Bruno has been seeing his vet about first, vomiting , he hasnt been doing that, not eating, he still doesnt eat well, and now the tongue turning red, gradually for the past 5 days. When our vet has given him shots, for vomiting and not eating. Bruno acts like it is REALLY REALLY painful when shots are given, had to muzzle him to keep him from biting the vet. initial blood work everything came back normal but dont know if his PCV was checked. But he has been drinking , urinating and seems to have normal bowel movements, so doesnt seem to be any kind of blockage, and was checked for worms his last visit and was free of any.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 years ago.
His PCV was checked. It's part of the basic blood work. You would have been told if it were too high (polycythemia). We're back to wondering if he's just dehydrated in spite of his drinking. Hating shots isn't confined to Akitas like Bruno. Thank goodness for muzzles. His history of vomiting and now not eating well suggests that there still is something going on in his gastrointestinal tract. There isn't likely anything wrong with his major organs (liver, pancreas, kidneys) because his blood tests were normal. A gastroenteritis persists or perhaps a food allergy or intolerance exists. GI disorders can be difficult to diagnose without invasive testing - scoping and biopsy, e.g. which isn't indicated at this point but if his partial anorexia persists scoping and biopsy will be considered as will a hypoallergenic food trial. It's quite late here now and I have to leave my laptop but I promise to reply in the morning if need be.
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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.