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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18138
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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One of our dogs passed away suddenly this weekend but we're

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One of our dogs passed away suddenly this weekend but we're not any the wiser as to why. My wife came in from work and found one of our dogs had vomited and had diarrhoea during the day. He was fine earlier in the morning and was acting as if he simply had an upset tummy for the next couple of hours (he's a pug and we're used to pugs with upset tummies having had a few of them).
He didn't vomit or have diarrhoea after that and there was no evidence of blood in either earlier on. A few hours later he became very quiet and stopped even wanting belly rubs. Shortly after that I picked him up to take him outside as he didn't seem to want to move and I noticed a dampness on my leg which smelled like the contents of a dogs anal glands but was pink. Minutes later he passed quite a lot of foul smelling blood from his anus.
We had him at the vets within 40 minutes but he went into shock 10 minutes within arriving and died shortly after. He was passing blood from his rectum the whole time in smaller amounts. It looked almost like it had seeds in it.
The night vet was hesitant to offer much in the way of an explanation (which I understand) we'd just obviously really like to know.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. My deepest condolences on your loss. I can understand that you must be devastated to go from seeing a pup with mild gastrointestinal upset to massive amounts of bloody diarrhea to losing him.Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract means it is irritated. This can be from eating something they should not (like bones or rich or different food), exposure to toxins (especially anticoagulant rodenticides), bacterial or viral infections, gastrointestinal parasites, metabolic disease leading to organ toxins irritating the gut, or a primary disease called hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis causes profuse dark, jelly-clot like, bloody diarrhea. They are very sick dogs and get dehydrated quickly so they need immediate care. Sometimes even with quick care we lose these pups, they seem to become dehydrated and septic so quickly that the battle is lost before we can even start the fight. Dogs can go from apparently healthy to extremely ill in a matter of hours. We aren't sure of the causative agent though we suspect a bacterial toxin may be involved.This seems to be the most likely scenario with your description of the events before his death.Here is a short article describing hemorrhagic gastroenteritis if you are interested in reading more: I am so sorry for your loss, please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your reply. The blood was actually quite bright in colour and full of "seed like" material the vet said was probably stomach lining. It did smell incredibly foul though, akin to the smell of anal glands. We can also rule out poisons e.t.c as with two other dogs, two cats, and a three year old we're pretty diligent,

Sounds like there was horrible destruction of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Bright red blood indicates colonic bleeding. Anything from the small intestine or stomach should be much darker.Salmonella can do that, though I would expect your other pets to be sick too as they should all have been exposed, unless he found something he didn't share. I would check your yard very closely for any signs of dead animals/birds.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Definitely no dead animals or birds. He wasn't one for eating plants or anything like that either come to think on it. We did check the vomit (it was everything he'd eaten that day) and the stools for anything odd but there was nothing to be seen. The previous day's stools we still in bags too and we even checked those. I know I'm asking the impossible but I do appreciate all of your suggestions.

That is really, really strange.With his symptoms there was some sort of localized toxin (could be produced from bacteria in the gut, he wouldn't have had to eat anything different) that caused shedding of the intestinal tract lining. But the question is what tipped the balance in his gut to allow an overgrowth and toxin production which led to sepsis. That is a mystery that may not be solvable. Perhaps this is related to an intestinal volvulus, (twisting of the intestine on its root blood supply) secondary to gut spasms from his mild stomach upset earlier in the day. Once blood supply to the intestines is cut off tissue death and shock follows pretty quickly. These are really rare, I've only ever seen one in 20 some years, but possible.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We know there wasn't much pain in his belly earlier in the evening because - as usual - he wanted it stroked and rubbed. I guess we'll never really know. We're just doing the usual "looking for a way to blame ourselves" guilt trip even though between the first bleeding and getting to the emergency vet took less than 40 minutes. We're just shocked at how fast it's happened when he was doing great prior.

Thank you for your time.

You are very welcome. It is really normal to want to know why things happened as they did, it is part of the grieving process.We can see see things progress very quickly in a dog with volvulus as cutting off the blood supply leads to tissue death very rapidly, often within 2-12 hours from the initial symptoms. I am very sorry for your loss, and I cannot say you could have done anything much different given how quickly things progressed for your little one, take care, Dr. Kara.