How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Gary Your Own Question
Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 3026
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
15010675
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Dr. Gary is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My dog was 19 years old, and developed another ear

Customer Question

My dog was 19 years old, and developed another ear infection. He also had diabetes, bad cataracts, and a vestibular problem that would usually occur around the same time as ear infections. On Friday, he would not lay down, and developed the ear infection. He would not lay down to sleep all night. Took him to the vet on Sat who cleaned his ears, gave us some ear cleaner and antibiotics and we went home. He did not sleep at all Sat night and was holding his head extended from his body as he was sitting. He began to whimper softly as he was sitting. He would not eat on Sun morning, and I brought him back to the vet. They took some blood, did not see that he was in any outward pain. His stomach was enlarged a bit, possibly enlarged liver. We took him out to the bathroom, he did not go all morning, and still did not, then he screamed and died in my sister's arms. I am struggling because I do not know what happened. The also resucitated him and he came back to life. He would not move, though. He then began to move his head and started screaming again, and we put him to sleep. Anything that could help me understand what might have happened?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help your dog. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Wow. An automated response. Disappointing. His name was Mortimer.
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Mortimer?
Customer: He was healthy in his last visit to the vet in Feb and his diabetes was in good control. He was very happy, even after they withdrew his blood on Sun. Just would not lay down.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 4 months ago.

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 4 months ago.

With your description of him not wanting to lay down, screaming and holding his head distended away from his body, I have to worry that there may have been a neck or back issue present. At 19 years of age, it would be quite common for us to see that these types of pains existed. It would also not be uncommon for us to see organ dysfunction which might not have shown up on the diagnostics performed, such as an underlying heart issue. At 19, this may well have been enough stress to cause his body to begin shutting down, resulting in his passing. Have you considered having a necropsy performed to give you certainty?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
It is probably too late for that. He did not have any pain, he did not react to touch in any negative way, and the vet also confirmed this. His heart was healthy and had always been strong, but of course there could have been more issue.. I forgot to mention that he had a 47,000 white blood cell count.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 4 months ago.

If his passing occurred recently and his body is refrigerated, a necropsy could still be performed. Honestly at 19 years of age, regardless of breed, he was at his life expectancy.

The whimpering and screaming suggests discomfort and this may have onset after the vet's original examination and worsened with time. Some dogs are quite stoic with their discomfort and without diagnostics like x-rays of the neck and spine may not have been able to ascertain if there was a medical issue contributing. The biggest factor for me is that you have a steady complaint of him vocalizing and he was screaming at the point of moving his neck. Looking back at the fact that he was also extending his neck and didn't want to lay down, this all heavy points toward progressive discomfort in the neck and back. This may have worsened while he was being resuscitated and his body was moved around without him being able to protect any sensitive areas. That said, it's not uncommon for us to see dogs vocalize after being resuscitated. In fact, more often than not some vocalization is present. How much of this was normal and how much of it may have been linked to whatever condition caused his demise is uncertain. At this point, it's a "best guess" based on symptoms.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Wow. That makes me feel so much worse for my decision, and I wish I could have asked these questions of a vet and one with more sensitivity to my pain. Thank you for making things so much worse for me, and being so off target in your response.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 4 months ago.

I'll be happy to contact customer service for you. I'm sorry we couldn't have been more assistance for you.