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bradford64's avatar

My Dog died suddenly what happened?

Asked by bradford64 (19points) February 25th, 2014

My 10 year old Baby boy had a sudden episode of what appeared to be difficulty coughing. He quickly became distressed. Prior to this, everything was fine and he had just eaten his lunch a couple hours earlier.
He had a grade 3 heart murmur that was stable and as late as last week, his Vet said was fine and no fluid was in his lungs.
He kept trying to cough but seemed to have lost his strength to cough. I picked him up and loved him and sat him back down and realized he couldn’t walk. He could stand but couldn’t take a step. I took him outside and he urinated but still did not take a step. I called the ER Vet and was told to bring him in. Half way into a 40 minute drive, he craned his neck upwards and stretched his legs out while turning on his side. He was apparently in major distress. I finally got him back and calm and he was again lying on his tummy looking out the window. When we arrived to the Clinic, they took him from me and made me wait about 20 minutes.
The Vet later came out and told me his Murmur was now a “6” and he was going.
I went back and upon hearing my voice, he began breathing again. I began singing to him and telling him today wasn’t the day and begging him to come back to me.
For the next 2 agonizing hours he would stop breathing at times as long as several minutes then would restart his breathing on his own. He was clearly fighting with all he had. The Vet asked me if he had gotten into any rat poison which he had not. He had a lot of bloody fluid coming up and they were trying to aspirate it. They gave him several shots of Epinephrin for his heart. Finally he took one long last breath and was gone.
I don’t know what happened and the vet discouraged me from having any blood tests done after the fact. I can’t help but wonder if they could have possibly given him a shot of something before I got back as he had a port in his leg and there was a used syringe lying there. They said they had not given him anything.
While it doesn’t matter at this point, I can’t help but wonder if Vets will give a shot if they know the owner will refuse to euthanize. I just don’t know what the episode was or what caused it.
If anyone has any experience or knowledge I would appreciate your answers. He was fine then all of a sudden he was struggling for his life.

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12 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Don’t give a dog human medication…no cough syrup. Maybe your dog was eating rat traps. Sorry for your loss.

zenvelo's avatar

So sorry to hear of you losing your dog

My kids had a dog that we had to return to the breeder because the poor thing had only one chamber. It happens, especially from in-breeding. It would explain your dog being sick a lot.

Cruiser's avatar

Do you have any a$$hole neighbors that may have wanted to poison your pup? Also where I live it is a hellacious winter and mice etc are moving indoors to find food and can often find poison bait. You did say your pup went outside before all this happened and could have ate something that was contaminated. Nothing you can do about this now! Sounds like this is going to be hard for you! So sorry for your loss…

Coloma's avatar

If he had a known heart murmur then most likely it was his heat.
I had a 14 yr. old kitty who had a heart murmur and thyroid condition. He also died suddenly. Had breakfast, seemed fine and that afternoon couldn’t breathe and had to be euthanized due to his heart failure. I’m sorry.

creative1's avatar

I had a cat who had a heart murmur and she started throwing blood clots at only 2 years old and her vet told me once they start throwing blood clots they don’t stop until they die. From the sound of it, it sounds like he was throwing blood clots until he finally passed. I ended up putting my little girl to sleep because her vet told me that each time she threw a clot it was very painful for her and I didn’t want her to suffer any more than she had to.

I am so sorry for your loss, I know how hard it is to loose a member of your family.

Pandora's avatar

I’m sorry for your loss. I recently loss my dog as well. He also had a heart murmur that he was being treated for and his kidneys where shutting down because of the medications for his heart. He had to take medications that would prevent fluid from building in his lungs. Unfortunately that medication would ruin his kidneys. But it was either he takes them and stays alive a bit longer or die right away from the heart murmur or from his lungs being filled with fluid (some side effect from the murmur). If he was already on medication than he probably didn’t have long. I looked up the frothing and it seems that it is not unusual for froth to come up with the last breath of a dying person, so I assume it works the same with dogs. I had my dog put to sleep and was with him in the end but maybe it was different because they use medications for seizures to stop the heart, so its possible the seizures force fluids out of the lungs that cause the foaming. He may have had fluid in his lungs.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m so sorry for your sudden loss of your sweet little boy. And the shock of its suddenness makes it doubly hard to bear.

As others have mentioned, its definitely possible for a dog or cat to have a heart attack the same as people.

I had an 11 yr. old cat who had never been sick a single day, no heart murmur or anything and one day she just suddenly gave out a cry and began rolling on the floor and panting heavily.

I thought she was having trouble breathing. I was at my Vets office within 20 mins. The moment the Vet saw her she gave her a shot to get her out of pain and then explained what was happening.

I hadn’t noticed it but her back legs were paralyzed. That’s because the blood clot frequently lodges in the narrowing area on the spine between the back legs.

And yes, throwing a clot is very painful for an animal. When I asked her what could be done, she told me the hard truth. Its basically what creative said above. There is no treatment.

But I wasn’t ready to hear that and since she was no longer in agony (just basically out of it from the pain shot) I went a few blocks down the street to the Univ.of Pa. Vet Hospital.

I had in my head that because it was less than an hour that the administration of clot busting drugs might give some hope. After all, that’s what we are continually told to do for humans who are having a stroke or heart attack.

But clot buster drugs will kill a cat because it perfuses the blood so quickly that the lungs end up drowning in their own blood.

So I had them put her to sleep then since I didn’t want her to wake up to more agony.

I did quite a bit of research on the web when I got home and discovered that HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy) is linked to a dominant gene present in some cats and it usually kills them young. It frequently goes undetected until the fateful day they throw that first clot.

They have done studies at various Vet schools and the basic scenario is that they might be able to prolong the cats life for an additional number of months. But that means weekly office visits, daily medications and frequent tests. So, they’re alive but its not much of a life. Putting them to sleep is the kinder thing to do.

So, the most likely thing is that your little dog had some type of congenital heart problem which killed him at a younger age than normal and there was absolutely nothing you could have done.

You got him very prompt treatment and were there for h until the end and that’s a plus.

It will take a while for you to get over the sheer shock of the sudden loss.

But one thing that eventually helped me a little bit was the realization that it was fortunate that I was right there when she threw the clot. Had I been out for several hours running errands or something, she would have been lying there in horrible pain all that time.

All in all she had a good happy life with me for all those years and about 20 mins. of pain at the end. All in all, it could have been worse for her.

And the same is true for your precious doggy. You were there to help him and you did everything you could for him. He didn’t have to lie there for hours in horrible pain.

You were there for him and got him help as fast as you could. And you also had him in for routine Vet check ups but not everything can be detected. If your Vet couldn’t pick it up, you certainly can’t expect yourself to.

I hope that helps just a tiny bit as you work through your loss. Its never easy when you lose a pet. They are part of our family.

PS. I had another cat whose heart murmur was detected when she was spayed as a kitten. She lived to 19 yrs. of age and it was a fast growing inoperative tumor under her tongue that did her in.

Many heart murmurs are routine and little danger to a pet. And they live long healthy lives. So don’t be reluctant about adopting a pet with a heart murmur in the future. Most of them are benign.

And its entirely possible that it wasn’t the heart murmur that killed him but a different type of defect.

If you wanted to, you could have an autopsy done to determine COD if you think it might give you peace of mind. It costs around $100. My sister had it done when they found their cat lying by the roadside. They assumed she might have been hit by a car but wanted to be certain that it wasn’t malicious neighbors with poison.

From the internal damage it was concluded that it was a car. But that’s the chance one takes with indoor/outdoor cats. Mine have always been totally indoors. They live longer that way.

Buttonstc's avatar

I don’t know whether or not you’re familiar with the Rainbow Bridge, but this beautiful poem may be helpful to you as it was for me.

trailsillustrated's avatar

My dog suddenly developed symptoms which sound exactly like yours. Because I was in a city at the time that had it I took him to the Johns Hopkins of the veterinary world, he was diagnosed with Leptospirosis.. He was saved, my bill was $5000, he lived because he was a young, strong dog of a large species and he got there early enough. He was left deaf and with poor eyesight. All dogs are vaccinated for this but it doesn’t work in all dogs, especially pure and small breeds. I warned the room mate I had at the time not to let the dogs drink run off or from a small nearby creek… whatever. I have never owned another dog after losing him to another incident. I sure feel your pain.

JLeslie's avatar

Such a very sad story, you have been through so much, it has to be very upsetting. It sounds like you did everything you could for your dog. If the doctor theorizes poison, maybe somehow he did get into some poison? You can’t blame yourself, it obvious you loved your dog and he knew it.

If the doctor felt the murmur was benign I doubt it was the murmur. I don’t know what type of murmur it was. I, my sister and my mom all have murmurs and it doesn’t really affect us. Other type of murmurs can cause problems and risk being fatal.

It sounds like even if there was a diagnosis to be had it might have been caught too late anyway since your dog declined so fast. That’s not your fault, you did everything possible.

If it will drive you crazy wondering you could get an autopsy.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

So sorry you lost the poor little soul. Great to see you were there for him till the end to see him off.

crushingandreaming's avatar

I am very sorry about your loss. I reccomend for support, what i think happened was that the heart murmur grew and attacked him.

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