Low Blood Oxygen in Dogs



Low Blood Oxygen in Dogs

Low Blood Oxygen in Dogs

The Oxygen plays the important role in every human being and it is also same in dogs, the oxygen in the blood has to be at a certain level to sustain life in dogs, a lack of oxygen in the blood can cause irreversible damage, Oxygen deficiency may also lead to anemia in the organs, which can progress to arrhythmia and heart failure.

The Hypoxemia occurs when arterial blood is not being oxygenated sufficiently, the amount needed for the health and performance of the dog’s vital organs is more than 70mm, but in hypoxemia, the blood gas is usually lower than 60mm hemoglobin. Another way to determine hypoxemia is if the dog has an oxygen saturation level of less than 90%. This is a serious condition that is life-threatening and needed medical attention immediately.

Symptoms of Low Blood Oxygen in Dogs

A dog that is suffering from hypoxemia can be noticed immediately because they will obviously be in distress and gasping for breath and there might be a blue tint in the dog’s skin as well. It is very important immediate medical attention if your dogs suffering from hypoxemia because it could fatal due to the permanent damage to the brain, lungs, and other vital organs from loss of oxygen. Some common symptoms of Low Blood Oxygen in Dogs are the following:

  • Excessive coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Open-mouthed breathing
  • Pain
  • Gagging
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid breathing (tachypnea)
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Discoloration of skin and mucous membranes
  • Collapse

Causes of Low Blood Oxygen in Dogs

The cause of hypoxemia is a lower than normal oxygen level in the blood, but there are many causes of the low oxygen levels.

  • High elevation
  • Injury
  • Pneumonia
  • Lung disease
  • Anesthesia
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease


Give your veterinarian your dog’s complete health history including a background history of symptoms, and any possible incidents that might have led to this condition. Your vet will look for symptoms like rapid breathing, over-excitement, and anxious behavior in your dog, she or he will also check for elevated body temperature, and will examine your dog for any head injuries.

Some tests will conduct too, they will check the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and oxygen saturation level. Blood samples from specific areas that will be drawn too for blood gas analyzers, complete blood count (CBC), chemical profile, and glucose level. They will also run some X-rays, endoscopy, nasal and throat swab culture, and a fine needle biopsy of the fluid in the lungs and chest cavity if necessary, Echocardiograms can be used to rule out lung and heart disease as the cause of oxygen deficiency in the blood, for more detailed diagnosis they will need MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound too.

Treatment of Low Blood Oxygen in Dogs

Low Blood Oxygen in Dogs

All treatment of any health problems depends on the final diagnosis, but for the initial treatment of Low Blood Oxygen in Dogs is the oxygen therapy by mask, enclosed oxygen cage, or nasal cannula.

The nasal cannula provides a constantly increased oxygen flow with the least stress to your dog, the oxygen mask is a temporary emergency therapy only used if your dog is either unconscious or barely conscious. Once your dog is fully awake, he will be transferred to an oxygen cage, the oxygen therapy will be used for draining excess fluid in the lungs or chest cavity. Your vet will also give antibiotics, bronchodilators, antihistamines, diuretics, mucus thinning medication through Iv medication.

During the treatment, your dog will be confined in the clinic or hospital until he or she will become stable. When your dog is recovered and can go home you should follow strictly the suggestion of your vet and be sure to follow you’re follow up check-up schedule.

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Butler Oh
Butler Oh is a long time dog lover. Dogs are always part of her family since she was young and she grows up as a loving and caring fur parent. She has been part of our team here at ohmylovelypets since 2019 and has provided a lot of great research and information about dogs.


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