Yellow Skin (Jaundice) in Dogs

Juindice or icterus is the term that is used to describe yellow discoloration of mucous membranes of the gums, nostrils, genitals, and other areas due to a high concentration of bilirubin, a normal bile pigment formed as a result of a breakdown of hemoglobin present in red blood cells (RBCs).

In some diseases, high rate of RBC breakdown results in high levels of bilirubin. As these high levels of bilirubin can not be excreted normally, they pile-up in the tissues, causing pale skin. Bilirubin can also get accumulated if its normal excretion is hampered due to some disease (e.g., cholestasis).

Accumulation of high levels of bilirubin is harmful for the dog. Bilirubin concentration is toxic  and causes discoloration of the skin (i.e., jaundice) kidney and liver injury as well as brain damage.    

All breeds of dogs can be affected by this condition.

Common symptoms of Jaundice are 





Abdominal pain

Loss of appetite (anorexia)


Yellowish discoloration of the skin

Change in color of urine and feces (orange colored)

Increased frequency (polyuria) and volume of urine

Increased thirst (polydipsia) and consumption of water

Mental confusion in advanced cases

Weight loss

Bleeding (especially in dogs with advanced liver disease)

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