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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10859
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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My 9 year old english terrier was really sad early

Customer Question

My 9 year old english bull terrier bitch was really sad early morning looked weak but was drinking and opened her bladder at around dinner time, her breathing was a little different but around 5 oclock, her breathing was louder. As to this, she started going stiff asif she wanted to open her bowels, and then we got very worried and she poo'd in her basket while layed down. Her mouth was open and she started shaking and she took her last breath, and suddenly passed away, can you please tell me what could have caused this? We are in deep shock
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and I'll do my best to help you.

I'm so, so sorry to hear about your girl. I can just imagine how distressed and heart broken you must be.

Of course, we can't know for sure without an autopsy (and sometimes even with one), but it sounds as if she might have had a tumor that ruptured, possibly her spleen or her liver.
These sorts of tumors can grow quite rapidly and be present for a relatively short period of time before they become suspected or confirmed. And, even if they are confirmed, they often have spread to such an extent that there's little that we can do about them.

Other causes of sudden acute death would be blood clots to the brain or a bleeding aneurysm.

I doubt if she was in any pain but I'm certain she knew something wasn't right.

I know there are no words which can help ease the pain in this situation but I hope it helps to know that she most likely wouldn't have made it even if you had rushed her to the ER clinic.

My sincerest condolences to you and your family at this sad time. Deb

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can I also add that she did the similur thing 6 days ago then day after was fine I thought it was upset tummy she loved her food we are so shocked do you think I should have a autopsey

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.
Her behavior six days ago could be consistent with an abdominal bleed from a mass but not a significant bleed. The blood could have been resorbed into her body over the course of a few hours or less and then she could act as if nothing had happened.

I always think an autopsy is a good idea in situations like this although I know it's not for everyone. Deb
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can I ask what a mass is please also if I want a autopsey should I just ring my vet and what will happen

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.
A mass is usually cancer or a tumor.

Yes, I would call your vet and ask about an autopsy. They should be able to perform one there.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If it was a tumour have you had any same breed dogs with simuler sytoms

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.
I haven't had this breed but I've personally had dogs with cancers of the spleen who have behaved exactly this same way. And, of course, I've seen them in client dogs as well. This is a fairly common problem, I'm sad to say. I see a lot of cancer in dogs.

Sometimes it's hard to know for sure what the problem might be since weakness can also be secondary to heart disease, too.

That will be the advantage of an autopsy. If this was cancer, then it should be fairly obvious. Deb
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thankyou for your help im still in shock I will make a decision tommorow for autopsy thankyou once again

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.
You're welcome although it somehow sounds odd to say so, under the circumstances.

My thoughts will be with you at this very, very sad time. I know there's going to be a huge hole in your heart for a long time to come. Regards, Deb