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My dog died suddenly Monday night. He was fine and walking…

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My dog died suddenly...

My dog died suddenly Monday night. He was fine and walking across the floor after eating. He walked to his bed to lay down. He fell hard and begin thrasking. Then his legs began jerking hard and his eyes were rolling and bulging out. He continued to jerk and move his legs like he was swimming or running. Then he stopped moving and stopped breathing. His tongue feel out of his mouth and turned purple. For about 3 months before this happened he begin panting a lot. Last week he was laying on the sofa and his front leg stretched straight out and his head and neck stiffened and he cried out. Is it possible that he had seizures and a Grand Mal the night he died. He was 17 years old. Also his abdomen swelled twice it size after he died.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Seizures always look scary. Let's get you talking to the Veterinarian. What is the dog's name?

Flash Dawg

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about your dog?

He had begin to slow down because of joint pain. Was unable to jump on the sofa or bed and was weak in his back legs.

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
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Answered in 6 minutes by:
3/28/2018
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18,827
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me several moments to review your concern and type up my thoughts.

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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 3 months ago

My condolences on your loss, I am sure that your entire family is in shock because things happened so quickly for Flash Dawg.

Given your history of sudden death I would be suspicious of a few things:

1) Tachycardia (fast heart arrhythmia) that led to asystole (complete lack of heart electrical or muscle activity) and sudden death.

This can happen in some bigger breeds of dogs due to cardiomyopathy, or it can be a primary problem of the electrical system of the heart, or it can be due to a heart based tumor.

In many cases all of these patients may seem fine, apparently eating, playing and normal, and we do not diagnose the condition until after death. In some cases they can have less severe episodes where the heart resets itself (that would explain his episode on the couch last week) before the final fatal episode when the heart does not reset.

2) A tumor in the abdomen that suddenly ruptured and led to shock and death. Hemangiosarcoma of the spleen is one tumor that this happens with relatively commonly. That would explain his change in tongue color and enlarged abdomen as a large amount of blood filled his abdomen. Some dogs have minor bleeds which lead to panting and could explain the episode like he suffered on the couch last week secondary to low brain oxygen levels. As the mass increased in size it could place pressure on his diaphragm/lungs and decrease room for his lungs to expand and cause panting.

3) A blood clot thrown into the lungs is another possible cause of this history, but that would not explain his swollen abdomen.

4) Gastric dilatation and volvulus, or a twisted stomach (bloat). That could certainly cause a pale tongue and explain his swollen abdomen as well as his sudden death, but this seems pretty rapid even for bloat, and would not explain his previous episode and panting.

5) Envenomation (snake bite or insect bite stings) could lead to heart arrhythmias and death, but generally in dogs his size we see swelling at the site of the bite, then later tissue death and possible death hours to days later from organ failure and the secondary bacterial infections that often occur. I would not expect sudden death from envenomation unless there were multiple bites/stings and then I would also expect facial and neck swelling and hives.

If I had to pick a cause I think a ruptured abdominal tumor is the most likely cause.

If possible you may wish to have a necropsy performed by your veterinarian. This is similar to an autopsy in humans and may give you the answers you need to understand his sudden death.

Be assured though with the history that you gave it is very unlikely that he suffered. I believe he was feeling hypoxic (low oxygen levels) and feeling woozy, and he may not have been aware of much after that. I suspect adrenaline alone got him moving around.

Please feel free to ask any further questions you may have after reading my response.

My deepest condolences to you and your family.

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