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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 28554
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a shihtzu that her tongue has been turning blue which

Customer Question

I have a shihtzu that her tongue has been turning blue which is due to lack of oxygen, I'm assuming. She spent 2 days in the animal hospital a couple of weeks ago. I can't seem to get a straight answer to what is wrong with her. She did OK for a few days but is starting to have those crazy sneezing and breathing episodes again. What is your opinion?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Can you upload a copy of Bailey's test results to our conversation? I understand that you might not have a copy of the results at home but her vet should be able to give you one which you could scan into your computer and give me the link or you can photograph the page(s) and upload the images by using the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (not if you're using the chrome browser) or by using an external app such as or
I can understand pancreatitis causing anorexia but it won't cause the cyanosis (tongue turning blue). This occurs when there's an obstruction in the upper or lower respiratory tracts - a true obstruction such as a tumor in an upper airway or a functional obstruction such as constriction of the airways in the lungs as seen in feline asthmatics or dogs with bronchitis (more likely). Have X-rays of Bailey's chest revealed changes in her lungfields consistent with bronchitis? Please take a look at this video of reverse sneezing and tell me if this is what you're describing as "crazy sneezing and breathing episodes":
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She does do the reverse sneezing but she also has other sneezing episodes, which to me seem more aggressive or violent. Those episodes usually last 1-2 minutes. Her tongue turns blue during this time also. When she has the breathing episodes that really scare me, she can barely move and it appears to me me that she cannot breath out of her nose at all and is gasping to get air through her mouth even. They do think some of it is allergy related but I think there is more to it than that. I do give her prednisone and antihistamines sometimes that the vet gave me. As far as getting her test results to you, I am too scared to ask for them. I don't want them to know I am doing this.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
I understand. You might consider having a specialist internist, then, take a look at Bailey. We all send cases that might require advanced testing and equipment to such a specialist as can be found here: I would expect Bailey's upper and lower respiratory system to be thoroughly scoped by such a specialist. It's unclear to me how sneezing would result in cyanosis unless her sneezing is accompanied by inflammation lower down in her respiratory tract; hence, the need for X-rays of her lungfields and then scoping and biopsy if necessary. A sneezing dog should still be able to breath through its mouth.
Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Hi Kim,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Bailey. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin

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