Why did our dog die suddenly? I was wondering if any body's dog has died for same reasons?

He was fine one day and the next morning, he was ill & in alot of pain. Took him to the vet that morning. The vet explained the x-rays to us & showed us that one part of his stomach was bloated. The other part near his rectum was compared "normal" to the bloated part of his intestine. They didnt say anything was wrong with the unbloated part. They said they needed to keep him for observation to make sure his bowels didnt twist, or anything. We went home, and I wasnt worried. I was confident that we would pick him up in 24-72 hours. Because that was the amount of time they said they wanted to keep him in case there was surgery needed. At 2 am in the morning, the vet called & said they were going to operate. About 7 minutes after that, they called and said his intestines were dead, that they were not able to save his intestine so he needed to be euthanised. I am heartbroken. Why did they "observe" him for 10 hours b4 they operated? Could he have been saved? I feel like they let him die.


I feel like not enough care was given when they knew he was in ALOT of pain. They said blood work was done, a catheter was used, and a second set of x-rays was taken. They're so experienced, couldn't they be able to tell he was dying? I feel like they let him suffer.

I know nothing i do will bring him back. But I feel like we paid them almost $2K, just to bring him home in ashes in a box.

Update 2:

5 year old, full breed Black Lab. He weighed a little under 100lbs.

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The condition is bloat. Some dogs are more susceptible than others to get this condition they can die within hours of getting bloat. Everything inside the dog does flip flops and getting a dog to come out of this is extremely rare.

    Bloat, Torsion. Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Call it what you will, this is a serious, life-threatening condition of large breed dogs. While the diagnosis is simple, the pathological changes in the dog's body make treatment complicated, expensive, and not always successful.

    A typical scenario starts with a large, deep-chested dog, usually fed once daily. Typical breeds affected are Akita, Great Dane, German Shepherd, St. Bernard, Irish Wolfhound, and Irish Setter. Sighthounds, Doberman Pinschers, Weimaraners, Bloodhounds, other similar breeds, and large, deep-chested mixed breeds are also affected.

    Factor in the habit of bolting food, gulping air, or drinking large amounts of water immediately after eating to this feeding schedule and body type. Then add vigorous exercise after a full meal, and you have the recipe for bloat.

    Of course, the fact that not all bloats happen in just the same way and the thought that some bloodlines are more at risk than others further complicates the issue.

    Simple gastric distention can occur in any breed or age of dog and is common in young puppies who overeat. This is sometimes referred to as pre-bloat by laymen. Belching of gas or vomiting food usually relieves the problem.

    If this condition occurs more than once in a predisposed breed, the veterinarian might discuss methods to prevent bloat, such as feeding smaller meals or giving Reglan (metoclopramide) to encourage stomach emptying. Some veterinarians recommend, and some owners request, prophylactic surgery to anchor the stomach in place before the torsion occurs in dogs who have experienced one or more bouts of distention or in dogs whose close relatives have had GDV.


    The physiology of bloat

    Torsion or volvulus are terms to describe the twisting of the stomach after gastric distention occurs. The different terms are used to define the twisting whether it occurs on the longitudinal axis (torsion) or the mesenteric axis (volvulus). Most people use the terms interchangeably, and the type of twist has no bearing on the prognosis or treatment. When torsion occurs, the esophagus is closed off, limiting the dog's ability to relieve distention by vomiting or belching. Often the spleen becomes entrapped as well, and its blood supply is cut off.

    Now a complex chain of physiologic events begins. The blood return to the heart decreases, cardiac output decreases, and cardiac arrythmias may follow. Toxins build up in the dying stomach lining. The liver, pancreas, and upper small bowel may also be compromised. Shock from low blood pressure and endotoxins rapidly develops. Sometimes the stomach ruptures, leading to peritonitis.

    Abdominal distention, salivating, and retching are the hallmark signs of GDV. Other signs may include restlessness, depression, lethargy, anorexia, weakness, or a rapid heart rate.

    GDV is a true emergency. If you know or even suspect your dog has bloat, immediately call your veterinarian or emergency service. Do not attempt home treatment.

    Do take the time to call ahead.; while you are transporting the dog, the hospital staff can prepare for your arrival. Do not insist on accompanying your dog to the treatment area. Well-meaning owners are an impediment to efficient care. Someone will be out to answer your questions as soon as possible, but for now, have faith in you veterinarian and wait.

    Initial diagnosis may include x-rays, an ECG, and blood tests, but treatment will probably be started before the test results are in.

    The first step is to treat shock with IV fluids and steroids. Antibiotics and anti-arrythmics may also be started now. Then the veterinarian will attempt to decompress the stomach by passing a stomach tube. If this is successful, a gastric levage may be instituted to wash out accumulated food, gastric juices, or other stomach contents. In some cases, decompression is accomplished by placing large-bore needles or a trochar through the skin and muscle and directly into the stomach.

    In some cases, this medical therapy is sufficient. However, in many cases, surgery is required to save the dog. Once the dog's condition is stabilized, surgery to correct the stomach twist, remove any unhealthy tissue, and anchor the stomach in place is performed. The gastroplexy, or anchoring surgery, is an important procedure to prevent recurrence, and many variations exist. Your veterinarian will do the procedure he feels comfortable with and which has the best success rate

    Recovery is prolonged, sometimes requiring hospital stays of a week or more. Post-operative care depends on the severity of the disease and the treatment methods employed and may include a special diet, drugs to promote gastric emptying, and routine wound management. Costs may run $500-1000 or more in complicated cases.



    Clearly, prevention of GDV is preferable to treatment. In susceptible breeds, feed two or three meals daily and discourage rapid eating. Do not allow exercise for two hours after a meal. As previously mentioned, some owners feel that certain bloodlines are at greater risk and choose to have gastroplexy performed as a prophylactic measure.

    While the genetics of GDV are not completely worked out, most breeders and veterinarians feel there is some degree of heritability. Therefore, while prophylactic gastroplexy will probably help an individual dog, it makes sense not to breed dogs who are affected or who are close relatives of those suffering from GDV.

    I am so sorry about your dog and i hope this information helps you understand what happened a little better.

  • 1 decade ago

    You cannot imagine how sorry I am for you. Believe it or not, I had to have my dog, my best frient, put to sleep yesterday. She was at the vet's about 3 months ago. The vet told us that she had an enlarged bladder and there was something definitely wrong with her rectum. She had Buffy (the dog) there for 3 days. She called us on the 2nd day and told us her and another vet did tests, and it showed bladder cancer. She suggested putting her to sleep then. But...we brought her home. We got a second opinion, and it appeared the first vet was right. This weekend, she got lots worse. She was straining to urinate, and hadn't had a bowel movement in 4 days. I took her to the vet yesterday, hoping she could do something. Unfortunately, there was absolutely nothing could be done and she said Buffy was in pain. She explained that we can't think of ourselves right now, but think about what the dog was going through. Put yourself in the dog's place. I made the decision then to have her put to sleep. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life, and today I still feel very guilty. I am just sooooo sad, and I can only imagine what you are going through. In answering your question....NO....I seriously don't think your dog could have been saved. The vet was trying their best. You have to think that. I realize now that if I had put Buffy to sleep 3 months ago, she woudn't have had to suffer like she did in the end. My heart goes out to you!!

  • 1 decade ago

    Sorry for your loss.

    Go back to your vet and ask them to sit down and explain everything to you again.

    Ask for the name of what your dog had, herniated intestines would have some medical name that you could go home and google to learn more about. Find out if this was hereditary, parasitic, or why it happened. Most vets will take the time to explain things to you, they may have the vet tech do it, but someone in the office should do it.

    How old was your dog, was he purebreed - many times defects get bred into dogs.

  • 1 decade ago

    You are very brave for writing this. If my dog had died, my fingers wouldn't be able to type out the words of sadness.

    Though I don't know why your dog suddenly passed, I do know that sometimes Doctors don't get onto patients as quickly as they should. Maybe they were giving Chemo to a sick dog in the next room, or giving a cat an amputation. All that I know is, though it is hard, try not to blame the vets for what has happened. Even though it is hard, the short end your dog had is much easier than to watch your poor little dog shake and quiver and slowly die. You saved him grief.

    Thank you

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  • 1 decade ago

    I just watched a show on t.v. about a dog that that happened to. What happened was that the intestines got their circulation cutt off and were deprived of oxygen and blood. The signs usually never show up until it is too late. There is nothing the vet can do about it. That person's dog died, too. So sorry about your loss. I truely hope this helps you out.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I had a Newfoundland thet died of bloat. the observation period may have been because he was in what they call "pre-bloat", meaning he hadn't completely bloated yet, and they didn;t know if he would or not. If he was bloated already, they may have been treating him for shock. If you operate on a dog in shock, the chances of death during surgery increase alot. Sometimes no matter what you do, they die anyway. I'm very sorry for your loss. Bloat is very sudden and can kill with no warning that anything is wrong until it is too late.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Was he on a monthly heartworm preventative,because heartworms will cause sudden death.So will poisoning,stroke,heart disease,etc. The only way you can know why he died would be to have a necropsy done. As for the urine,when an animal ( or human) dies,their muscles all relax and urine is released.

  • 1 decade ago

    This condition is actually called "bloat." It happens to larger dogs a lot b/c they have to bend down to eat and they swallow air. Sometimes it will go away on its own, so that's probably why they waited to operate. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Linds
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    If he was fine the day before, it leads me to believe, he ate something that he shouldn't have. Perhaps it was anti-freeze, which can sometime drip from cars, is very deadly to dogs. It's a green liquid and taste very sweet to the,.

  • 1 decade ago

    Might have been a flipped stomach, your vet should be able to tell you. So sorry about your loss

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