The Vet Experts
What Can Your Pet's Gums Can Tell You
Acting primarily as a protective barrier, your pets gums have a rich blood supply that provides them their distinctive pink color. If this color and other normal gum characteristics change, like moistness and temperature, it can indicate that something is wrong with your pet.
Your pets gums should normally be a bubble gum pink color. When pressed with your index finger, the gums should lighten to a pale or white pink shade and quickly (within two minutes) go back to the normal bubble gum pink color when you remove your finger.
The amount of time it requires for your pets gums to come back to the normal is known as the capillary refill time, or CRT. Gums should also be slippery or wet and smooth if you should run your finger over them and never be tacky or dry.
Here are some common issues associated with abnormal gum color:
Pale Pink or White Gums
When your pets gums are pale pink or even whiteout this could be a sign of anemia or acute blood loss. Many ailments can cause anemia and trauma may result in blood loss. Since the body doesn't have sufficient blood to circulate, the typical pink color fades. Either condition is very serious and you should take your pet to your local urgent care vet or emergency vet right away.
If your pet does not have a sufficient oxygen supply, their gums may turn blue or purple. This gum shade is known clinically as cyanosis. Cyanosis can be caused by a variety of issues. Pneumonia, congestive heart failure, pulmonary thromboembolism, and other respiratory problems may cause this blue gum coloration as well. Immediately seek medical attention from your local urgent care vet or emergency vet.
Bright Red Gums
If your pet’s gum are extremely red or bright pink then it can mean they are overheated or have whats called stomatitis or gingivitis. Dogs with heat stroke often present glowing red gums as they are panting, in an attempt to turn down their body temperature. Bright reddish gums are also a indication of inflammation or that their gums are infected.
Both of these periodontal problems can make the gums bleed more easily and may be painful. Definitely check with your local urgent care vet or emergency vet once you notice the change in color. Overheating and infection can be very serious and your pet may need to be seen as soon as possible.
Stomatitis, gingivitis and growths can often cause a pet's gums to be very sensitive and susceptible to bleeding. If your dog has bleeding gums, he should be checked by a vet to assess the underlying cause. Depending on the underlying cause behind the gum disease, it may or may not be completely preventable.
Unfortunately, sometimes our furry friends do get sick and we need to seek help for them. So if you noticed something is not quite right with your pets gums, definitely call your urgent care vet or emergency vet and have your furry friend seen right away.
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We always want what is best for your pet so don’t hesitate to call us and bring your pet in if you’re worried.