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Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16805
Experience:  Veterinarian for more than 30 years
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My border collie of 12 yrs has had occasional osteoarthritis,

Customer Question

My border collie of 12 yrs has had occasional osteoarthritis, otherwise full of life and speed.She was taken in for the day at Vets and given methadone and half a recommended dose of sedative, in order for her to have X rays and blood tests to confirm osteoarthritis. She came through alert and fine, and was discharged...though contrary to what the Vets said, she was not drowsy, more agitated and pacing. Eventually managed to settle her on her bed and stroke her to sleep. I found her dead at 6-45am, and she was icy cold and hard, so must have been dead since about 2am. How could she have died, since Vets have no explanation, and we are all mad with grief.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Rebecca replied 2 years ago.
I am shocked to hear of her demise as well! I am so sorry; my sincere condolences. It is terrible to lose a beloved dog so suddenly, without warning.
Do you know what drugs apart from the methadone that was used for sedation?
Do you happen to know if the blood tests that were done were abnormal in any way?
Of course, the only way to tell for sure why she died would be an autopsy, and even then it can be hard. Sometimes only a full autopsy by a board ceritifed veterinary pathologist can tell you.
Since she was agitated before she passed, she may have been experiencing a heart arrythmia, an irregular heart beat. That can cause agitation, and death. Another possibility would be a blood clot or stroke.
It is terrible when these things happen. Usually sudden unexpected deaths are due to some heart or blood clot problem. I have a dear friend who is only alive today because of a kidney transplant from a 14 year old boy who dropped dead of a previously unknown heart problem while playing baseball. 20 years later, I am still so sorry for those parents, and grateful they had the courage to donate his organs. Sudden death sometimes just happens, and it is always a tragedy.
Let me know what else I can answer. My deep sympathy for your loss.