View Full Version : Tongue going blue, surgery decisions!

21st July 2010, 07:57 PM
Hello everyone
Although i have often visited this forum, this is my first post.
My little girl Abigail, who is nearly 7 years old, has always been a snorty, snoring little girl.
Recently however, we have noticed when she goes for a walk, even a short one, her tongue goes purply/blue, and she pants really loudly. I always pick her up and carry her.
We have been to the vet, and at first they told us she was overweight, and has fat in her throat. So, she has been on a diet. She weighs almost 9kg. I dont think she is that fat..but nevermind..

The diet has been unsuccessful, and so we took her to the vet again, who then thought she heard a heart murmur, and referred her to a specialist for scans.
The good news is that she doesn't have any heart problems, its all fine. But she does have a problem with her palate. I am so worried about the surgery involved in correcting this. Has anyone else had this done, in an older dog?
Each time we have had extensive surgery done on pets, they ended up dying..and Abigail is my little girl, nothing must happen to her!

21st July 2010, 10:16 PM

I am really sorry Abigail has this problem, poor little girl it must be such a worry for you. Abigail doesn't sound overweight to me.
I am unable to offer you advice, however there are quite a lot of articles on the internet regarding this. I have found this one http://vetspecialists.co.uk/factsheets/Soft_Tissue_Facts/Upper_Airway_Obstruction.html

If I were you I would print this off, take it to the vet and ask them to explain more clearly what they are going to do and what exactly is the problem. I would even ask them to write it down if you are unsure. I would also explore ways of managing this condition without surgery. If surgery is a must, is your vet the right person to do this?? or are their specialists that might be better suited?? especially as your vet seems to be working on a process of elimination, weight, possible heart problem both of which are negative.

Even so, try and work with your vet as you need his support to refer you if necessary.

Sorry I can't give you real advice but this is what I would do, research the condition, ask lots of questions and expect answers that you feel can understand and feel comfortable with.

Please let us know how you get on.

21st July 2010, 11:07 PM
I would get a second opinion. Perhaps board members who live near you can recommend vets who might be able to offer some insight...

21st July 2010, 11:31 PM
Unfortunately some cavaliers do have serious problems with breathing due to their foreshortened muzzles. If your dog's tongue is going blue, then yes, I'd say there's probably a need to do something. There's more info here:


I'd probably attend a vet university to get specialist advice.

Keeping your dog's weight down if she is overweight would be an enormous help as well -- perhaps PM Brian M on the board as he knows of a UK vet clinic that does special weight loss for pets. Generally if a dog is not losing weight it is because someone is sneaking the dog food, it is getting into food without the owner noticing, possibly including unexpected sources like eating cat poop from litter boxes, or the amount is not being reduced enough. Often people give a lot of treats --enough to equal a full second meal as this breed is so small. Some 'healthy' treats like Dentastix are extremely high in calories. Rarely, there may be a thyroid problem.

But because heart disease is endemic in the breed, the best thing anyone can do for their cavalier's overall health is keep them thin. Extra weight wears out those vital heart valves sooner and as almost every cavalier will get MVD, a few extra pounds easily translate to a a year or more taken off a dog's life (a study on labs showed that overweight dogs died up to 4 years sooner than they would have otherwise, so it really is a significant problem).

Because there's such a great difference in size in these dogs and every dog is different, it is hard to say what the right, healthy weight for Abigail would be but your vets will be able to advise. There is great info HERE (http://roycroftinformationcenter.com/Roycroft%20Cavaliers/Roycroft%20Cavalier%20Care%20Feeding%20new.html) on what and how to feed and how to get a cavalier to lose weight -- with pictures of what a healthy weight is and what is too fat for a cavalier (scroll down).

Best of luck with Abigail; it is hard to advise on the best option but I'd certainly get advice from a vet school specialist rather than a general vet in making this decision.

22nd July 2010, 04:03 PM
Hi again
Thanks so much for all the responses! I am waiting for my vet to give me a call ,as she did a thyroid test yesterday, and we are just waiting for the results. I have been trawling the internet, and cavalierhealth.org and have read all the articles about brachy(spelling) dogs. (dogs with breathing obstructions)
I will indeed pm Brian to ask if he knows of a vet that is a specialist. My vet does want to send me to the a veterinary college near london (I dont know if im allowed to name them)..but here is where I get nervous. We have had two cats that went there in the past. Both persian cats , the one had severe heart problems, and after extensive tests (and 1000 later) they told us, death is imminent, they can do nothing. I threw away the pills they gave us, as we were told if he takes them, that they will affect his kidneys very badly. It turns out with him, that he lived for a further 4 years, with no problem.
Then our second kitty Cobweb, got a urinary infection, and he went to them, and while they were cutting edge with their surgery, he also ended up being so traumatized that after they had resuscitated him twice, I told them to stop trying, and he died.
The feeling I got with treatment there is that while it is the most skilled and technically advanced hospital, perhaps they loose sight of the humane side of the issue.
And now automatically , when Abigail gets referred to them, I balk.
As i type this she is lying on the couch, snoring happily, and I can just think that everything will be fine. But when that tongue goes alarmingly blue, and her eyes bulge, then I know we have to do something.
I will keep everyone updated as soon as I hear something back from the vet.

22nd July 2010, 04:08 PM
Oh, and yes, while Abigail does love her food, the poor little madam has been on diet food for a few months now, and while her brothers raid the catbox periodically, she turns her nose up at that. She walks around hungry permanently now, and gets quite mean at food time.
The vet mentioned trying her on appetite suppressants, seeing as she cannot do any exercise at the moment.