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White tongue after neuter.

Species: Dog
Breed: Lab Retriever
Age: 1-2 years
My dog got neutered couple of days ago and seems to be recovering fine. He is eating and drinking water, seems alert, but there are a couple of things that's concerning me.

1. He is drooling a lot. Prior to the surgery he didn't drool much, if at all. His mouth and front legs are wet from all the drooling.

2. His tongue looks as if there is a milky substance peeling off. I would say the front half of his tongue looks like this. It is also wrinkly (four verticle lines) and looks lumpy. Prior to the surgery his tongue was looked very smooth and pink.

3. He is eating, but I noticed he would grab the food with his mouth as if he wants to avoid licking. He would have the food in his mouth, chew on it lightly and spit it out, pick it up.. basically looks like he is having difficulty chewing his food.

He weighs about 70 pounds and the vet says he's healthy. I've looked everywhere online to find information about this problem but didn't have any luck. Please help!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

What you are describing is not normal. I wouldn't be too alarmed if there was simply some drooling on the day of the surgery. But, two days later we really shouldn't be seeing these symptoms.

While I can't say for sure, one thing that would fit with these symptoms is if Max had burnt his tongue on something. It's possible that he licked at something at the vet hospital that he shouldn't have.


I'm not surprised that you couldn't find reference to these symptoms online because it's just not a normal thing to see after a neuter!

I'd definitely recommend taking him to see your vet first thing in the morning. If this is a burn, then he will need some antibiotics and also some pain medication to help him get through this. There really isn't any medication that I could recommend you to give at home. It's not a bad idea, though to soften his food for him or give him canned food until we get this sorted out.

I'd love to hear back from you once your vet has taken a look, or sooner of course if you have more questions.

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Is there a possibility that he is getting these 'sores' on his tongue because he's tired, or his body is not functioning normally? I know I use to get weird sores on my tongue when I was extremely tired from lack of sleep... I'm wondering if dogs react similarly..


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It's not something that I have ever seen! It really sounds like some type of a burn - it could be a thermal burn (i.e. he licked something hot) or chemical.

One other possibility is something called vasculitis. This is where a blood clot forms and cuts off some blood supply to the tongue. However, I would expect the tongue to be more purple than white.



Customer reply:

I know you recommended me taking Max to the vet, but is it okay to wait it out? I'm hoping it will heal on its own...


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

If it's a burn, it could be really serious. For a serious burn, waiting a few days could possibly mean him losing part of his tongue.

I'm really hoping it's nothing, but this is not a situation where I would advise waiting. Sorry!



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.