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Dr. B
Dr. B, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 190
Experience:  B.S. and D.V.M. at Texas A&M University, 10+ yrs experience practicing very high quality medicine & surgery
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I found my 14 year old Pomeranian floating in the pool. She

Customer Question

I found my 14 year old Pomeranian floating in the pool. She had possibly been outside 3 hours. We have a doggy door and she could have gone in or out anytime, but I know I saw her at 1:30 and at 5:00 I found her. When I got her out of the pool and held her she had air bubbles, foam, the it started mixing with blood coming from her nose. Her eyes were open, her mouth closed and her tongue was just protruding enough to see the tip of it. I have to know if she drowned. Would she float if she drowned? She weighed around 9 pounds. The temperature was in the 50's and it was raining.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Dan replied 1 year ago.

Hello, thank you for your question, I'm Dr. Dan and I'll try to help you.

I'm so very sorry for your loss I truly am, it must have been terrifying to see.

The last question is the easiest, yes she would float if she drown, all that is needed for this to happen is that she have enough body fat to hold her up on the water. In a dog it doesn't take much fat to do this so most dogs do float even if not overweight.

I would suspect one of two things happened, the odd part is that there was blood in her nose. This would sugget that she had an issue with her heart or lungs before she fell in the pool. Heart disease and pneumonia are common problems in this breed, and if she started coughing or having other problems near the pool and fell in, then she did drown but had other symptoms as well. The blood in the nose is what is odd here.

Likely she did drown either way, the main question is did she fall in and drown or have some other problem that caused her to fall in. The only way to know this for sure is to have an autopsy performed by a vet (called a necropsy). A look at the lungs, heart and nose will tell us if there was disease before this all started. From my perspective the blood in the nose has me thinking that she had problems before she feell in the pool. I hope this helps, if not please feel free to ask more questions.

Dr. Dan

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I've been reading about pet drowning and thought if she had drowned the water in the lungs would have caused her to sink. This is the first thing I have read that contradicts that. Fat keeps most dogs from sinking even if not overweight? Even if old and frail? Can you direct me to a website that would explain why dogs don't sink?
Expert:  Dr. Dan replied 1 year ago.

I don't have a website specifically, just medical textbooks, I'll opt out so you can have a different expert help you since you don't trust my answer.

Expert:  Dr. B replied 1 year ago.

Hi Ester,

I, too, am so sorry you had to experience this trauma. I did find this website for you. It explains why you saw foam and blood bubbles. It also discusses floating time periods. I do want to warn you, though -- this is not an easy article to read after you have just gone through this. I hesitate to send it to you because it is graphic. However, it is scientific and will answer some of your questions.

http://www.forensicpathologyonline.com/E-Book/asphyxia/drowning

Again, I am so sorry for your loss and trauma.

Sincerely,

Dr. Bryant