Questions About Dog's Death

Kelly Roper
Sometimes even veterinary care isn't enough to save a dog's life.

The sudden death of a cherished canine companion can leave an owner devastated. It can also leave a lot of unanswered questions about why the death occurred. Share these dog lovers' stories.

Visitor Questions About Dog's Death

Rottweiler Never Showed Signs of Illness

I had a Rottweiler-cross dog who was about nine years old that just died this morning, but he was showing no signs of sickness of any kind. We boarded him at a kennel for three days and when we went to pick him up, the kennel owner was rushing him to the vet. When I arrived at the vet's office, my dog's temperature was ninety-four degrees, and he was lethargic and wet from his backside down. His upper half had places of wetness, but was mostly dry. The kennel owner said that my dog had thrown up earlier that day, but was running around with the other dogs just hours before he took him to the Vet.

I am questioning how long it normally takes for a dog's temperature to drop like that. The vet did a stomach x-ray and that looked fine. They did bloodwork and that all came back fine. My dog's temperature only went up two tenths of a degree overnight. We did not have an autopsy done, but my vet is thinking that his death could be heart related.

I'd like to know if you have any ideas on this. I realize that this is not a lot of information, but I am struggling with the temperture drop. Our weekend weather was cold and rainy, in the thirty degree range, and evidently the kennel had not turned on the heat until Monday, the day we picked him up.

Any help you can give me would be appreciated.

Thanks~~ Tricia

Expert Reply

Hello Tricia,

I am so sorry to hear about the death of your dog. It's very hard to loose a pet that has been a member of the family for so long.

Your vet would be the real expert about your dog's temperature drop, but my suspicion is that your pet's condition was deteriorating longer than anyone realized. If his heart was failing, then perhaps poor circulation was causing him to cool down, and the small rise in temperature was due to the support measures your vet was providing.

The weather shouldn't have made much difference to an indoor kennel, but I am curious as to why he was wet. Since the wetness was only on his backside, it would seem he had been sitting on a wet surface. I am also wondering why a dog that had thrown up was allowed to come in contact with other client dogs afterward? I would ask the kennel staff more questions about that entire day.

The only sure way to know why your pet died would be to have a post mortem done. Without that, we're all just guessing.

So sorry for your loss~~ Kelly

Why Did My Dog Suddenly Die?


I hope you can help. My eight-year-old Labrador Retriever died last week. She had just began limping on her back leg. We took her to the vets', and they kept her there overnight.

By the next day, she had completely lost the use of her legs. The vet said she may have a slipped disc, so we took her to a spinal vet who examined her and said her spine was fine. Blood tests showed no damage to any of her organs, but she died the next morning in her sleep.

We are devastated that the vets don't seem to know what happened to our dog. Can you help please?

Thank you~~ Lynda Hyde

Expert Reply

Hello Lynda,

My heart goes out to you on the loss of your pet. Death following a sudden illness is far more difficult to deal with than one that was expected. There's just no way to prepare for it.

Certainly your vets would be the experts in this case. I can only offer my thoughts.

I know you said your dog's blood tests came back fine, but do you know if your dog was actually checked for diabetes? There is a condition that develops out of undetected diabetes called diabetic neuropathy. This condition causes weakness in the rear legs. It's a long shot, but it might be the reason your dog lost the use of her own rear. I'm not a vet, so perhaps the blood work that was done on your dog already included a screen for diabetes.

Did you ask the vet to do a post mortem on your pet? That might have revealed the true cause of death. The weakness in her legs was almost certainly a secondary symptom of something else.

I'm sorry I don't have something more concrete to offer you, but it does sound like you took quick action the moment you realized something was going wrong. Your vets also seem to have taken the situation seriously and looked at the problem from other angles. It may not seem like it right now, but you can take comfort in the fact that you gave your dog the best care available in the end, and I'm sure she would thank you for it if she could.

My very best wishes~~ Kelly

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Questions About Dog's Death