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So sorry to hear of your loss, my name is***** and I am a small animal vet with many years experience and rest assured I will do my best to answer your question to your satisfaction today.
How was Jake's health in the years prior to this incident, has he ever suffered from any significant diseases in the past?
The situation is that only way you would find out for sure what happened is to have had a post mortem carried out. Many of my clients were against this because they did not want their pets cut about and as a pet owner myself I do not blame them in the slightest for feeling that way.However in my experience when I did carry out post mortems in dogs of Jake's age group then most sudden death cases if you discount poisoning either accidental or otherwise, were usually related to some form of previously undiscovered heart disease.
The history of what happened in particular the breathing more heavy than normal would certainly fit in with this diagnosis.
I know this is no comfort to you but eleven years of age could be the allotted time span for a GSD in his age group.
Again sorry for your loss ...
Dr Scott, sorry for losing connection. Prior to Jake starting to breath heavier than normal, the day befor, when he got fed, he gulped his tea down. He was playing as normal and walking fine. But it was the next day where he would or could not eat, and started taking in more water than normal. It was only on Sunday evening when I noticed the slowness of his walking. And when I took him out for the last time early Monday morning, he relieved himself as far as I could tell, but must have seen a cat, and bulted for it. I stopped him, and after taking a few paces, slumped down. After getting him in, I wet him down to cool him, checked his belly, and he felt calm, and 3 hours later, I awoke to a bowl and then he was gone. Prior to all this, Jake was very healthy as he was my retired guide dog and was always out with me. You stated about a pm, this has been done, but I am still waiting on answers.
Thanks for your reply, I am still waiting on the p.m results and yes, he was my life. I never once thought he could have a heart problem, as he was so fit and healthy. Would anything been done, do you think?, I know this won't biting Jake back, but sometime in the future, I may decide to take another shepherd on, also, would Jake have been in pain in any way, as I do blame myself very bitterly.
Dr Scott, thanks for taking the time to continue talking with me regarding my late guide dog Jake. As of yet, I still don't have the p.m results, but do now have Jake's ashes to keep. My one main regret I do still have is, not taking him to my vets on Thursday 12 march while he could still walk fine even though he had only just started panting heavy, but I just put it down to him being very warm, and not eating, , to him just being fussy.
Hi Dr Scott, just today I have been given a preliminary answer about jake, but should get the full report some time next week. But at the moment, it looks like he had a tumer rupture in his spliene. I have also ordered some books on shepherds, just in case I decide to train with another one, and when I get the rest of the p.m results, I will let you know, thanks again for taking time to talk with me.
Hi, sorry for the late reply, for some reason this response was sent to my junk folder. The final report came back stating, he had a non-cancerous tumour and some internal bruising. He had some nodules on his liver, but no other health issues. It was suggested, he may have been knocked, but I think it is more likely due to the amount of times he kept getting attacked by smaller dogs.
I will be able to eventually, I have to I know. Some time in the future, I may decide to train with another shepherd, this might make things a little easier, as it takes at least 5 weeks to qualify with a new guide dog, and I won't get much time to worry about jake. Thanks for all your help and support you have given me, I guess we will never know how or why I lost Jake so suddenly, all I know is I looked after him and cared for him just as my other dogs I have had.