My best friend passed away. I need closure. - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 05-29-2014, 08:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My best friend passed away. I need closure.

Less than 24 hours ago, my dog passed away abruptly in less than four hours without yet any conclusion as to from what?

I'll go right to the point and give you a timeline of events that unfortunately some members may have experienced and if possible could share with me in my quest for an answer.

Elana was a six year old dog GS with an impressive lineage although she was a beta and perhaps the "grunt" of the litter. That is why my wife fell in love with her as she sat alone in a corner while her brothers and sisters tumbled over one another. She was gentle and very tame with everyone that approached her, yet she would have the look of a hawk looking out for her young whenever any family member would talk to strangers. Suffice to say that she played with a pet rabbit in our household and acted "motherly" instead of letting the natural prey instinct take over. She was an outdoor dog, but would sleep and constantly "knock" on my home office door to get some cold a/c when the day was hot.

Ok, let me get to what happened:
  • She was a healthy dog that I would fast walk 4 miles a day since she was less than a year old. Always very well hydrated as we had several water spots along the way
  • All vaccinations up to date and checked semi-annually at the vet's office
  • I must admit she was maybe 20lbs overweight although she was a very big and thick bone girl. She had a high protein diet, but always "tricked" my wife into getting treats
  • She was scared of thunder, so she would knock on my door to come in and crawl under my desk and lay on top of my feet
  • I noticed she started doing this for the past couple of days without any thunderstorms going on as if she was scared of something
  • The day before she passed away, she sat in my home office just staring at my wife and I for prolonged periods of time. For the first time, I kind of notice a glaze in one of her eyes (like a fresh fish before you cook it)
  • Around 10pm last night, I heard her whimpering while scratching for me to open office door. I work many hours day and night
  • I failed to mention that an hour before, I gave her a cooked t-bone with very little meat along with her dry food
  • Once I let her in, she would try to sit by putting her weight on her hind paws -- she would let out a momentary painful cry.
  • After she laid down, for the first time she refused a dog biscuit. I started to worry and got her some ice cubes with water which she hardly sipped. Because in the past she had sprained her ankles running around, I had to push a joint & muscle relaxant her doctor had once prescribed that we still had a few for these type of occasions. Also, I pressure squeezed her paws and legs to see if I could discover where the pain was coming from, but she did not seem to mind
  • By now, I'm thinking intestinal obstruction
  • She would try to stand up on her own to move around and was progressively fast not being able to as she would whimper
  • She pointed to the door like she always had in the past whenever she want it go out. I let her out and eerily, she went to the extreme corners of my yards kind of like not to be seen
  • As I kept on following her with a flashlight, once again I notice that "glaze" over one of her eyes when I shined the flashlight her way
  • The five minutes I went away to get my son to help me load her into the car to take her to the hospital, we noticed she had left like 10 bloody diarrhea splatters around the yard, I guess she did not want to do so in my office
  • By now, she was sitting upright with her hind legs kind of like extended towards the front unable to balance. I had to lift up from her stomach so she can walk 20ft to the car with her weight on her front legs. Once in the car, she did not complain much
  • When we got to the hospital, it was a real ordeal to bring her down from the rear seat without causing any pain. The doctor brought a gurney, byt she fought not to lay on it and the doctor also put a muzzle over her mouth fearing that in pain she may have turned around and bitten him. I think this probably caused her to get highly anxious and panicked
  • Once inside, they started an IV, did blood and stool work. The doctor came out and told us her platelet count was ZERO and there was some blood, not much dripping from her rectum. He also noticed some abrasions in her belly which are normally caused by low platelets. Her WBC count was high also and he saw her go into a seizure twice. Even asked me if she had ever suffered from seizures.
  • As we are talking, the nurse runs in screaming "CPR!". She was suffering respiratory arrest. They tubed her and manually kept lungs going. BP was a little high, so was body temp. Her heart was beating on its own.
  • When I saw her, she had some cuts in her tongue and would not respond to my whispering in her ear, nor tickling. Doctor even took body temp through her rear cavity and she did not even move. No blinking of the eye, nothing.
  • He explained to me that if they put her in a ventilator, most likely it would be futile as she appeared to be brain dead and if by any God granted miracle she would come out -- she would be blind of unable to move her limbs and have no quality of life
  • After heart-wrenching thoughts, I asked for the tubing to be removed and if she were to be in any pain, to please have euthanasia syringe very close so she could go die peacefully.
  • He came out within ten minutes and told us she went right away without any pain and did not have to use euthanasia
  • I made the arrangements to take her to her OWN DOCTOR and have an autopsy performed. A couple of hours ago, I got off the phone with doctor and was told that there was no trace of any lacerations/cuts by the t-bone nor bone fragments in her stool and that for all you know she may have even buried it like she has with other bones in the past.
  • No toxins, rat poison or any other chemicals trace. I asked about doing toxicology and he responded, that it would be expensive and most likely not lead anywhere
  • Coincidentially, he expressed the same opinion as the ER doctor stating that this was one of the most bizarre cases they have seen that they do not have any explanation for

Sorry for the long post, but please feel free to ask me what I may have missed out or you would like to know to help me understand what could have gone wrong.

I wish I would have found this forum when she was alive.
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It sounds like the dreaded hemangiosarcoma.
I am so very sorry.
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I am sorry for your loss. My 8.5 year old GSD died suddenly almost exactly two years ago now, and my first thought while reading your story was "hermangiosarcoma". That is what caused my dog's death.

Did your vet mention finding any signs of hermangiosarcoma in the necropsy? Were they able to rule it out?

Again, I am sorry for your loss. It is never easy, but it is always a shock when we lose them so suddenly.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Sounds very much like hemangiosarcoma I'm so very sorry for your loss....
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry for your lose.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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IMHA? (Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia)

Changes in the white blood cell and platelet counts may be seen in addition to red blood cell count abnormalities on a complete blood count. Some dogs with IMHA have marked increases in their white blood cell counts. This occurs when all cell lines within the bone marrow are excessively stimulated. Other dogs with IMHA may have decreased platelet counts, particularly if the immune-mediated injury involves platelets as well as red blood cells. This is called Evanís syndrome, and may be associated with a worse outcome in most patients than with IMHA alone

Immune-mediated Hemolytic Anemia, Canine | Encyclopedia | Clinton Parkway Animal Hospital, Veterinary Health Services in Lawrence, KS

IMHA is noted in middle aged females more then other.


I am so sorry for your loss
RIP beautiful doggie
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I am so sorry for your loss. It's even worse when it's sudden and you have no answers.

I would think that an autopsy would have shown some sign of Hemangiosarcoma. A tumor, mets, something.

IMHA, may be harder to see in an autopsy. As there would be no gross findings.

I wish I knew, and that you could get some closure.

It's hard now, but remember the joy she brought you. You were a good owner to her, obviously very loved.


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Old 05-29-2014, 10:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am sorry for your loss. It does not sound like hemangio other than the platelets and there are so many things that can cause low platelets including some tick diseases and cancers.

Is there any chance she could have got into aspirin? A friend of mine had this happen to her dog when someone else was watching it but fortunately they caught it within hours and the dog lived after several touch and go days in the ER.
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I am so sorry for your loss... it could be hemangiosarcoma...
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm so sorry for your loss.
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