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Dog died after surgery.

Species: Dog
Breed: English Bulldog
Age: 3-6 months
On Saturday evening my daughters 6 month old dog swallowed a needle which got her very cocerned so she phoned her vet right away to see what she should do? The vet instructed her to see if the dog would eat something if so feed him a bun in which she did there was nothing wrong with the dog was acting my other daughter was playing with him and he was still normal just swallowed a needle. So my daugther phoned the vet back and told him the dog was fine ate a bun and was running around the vet instructed her to bring the dog in for an xray in which she did and they found there was a needle in his stomach. The vet told her he would need to do emergency surgery on him to get the needle in which he did and as the dog was coming around the vet called for my daughter to come in to help him because the dog was staring to vomit and he was trying to get the vomit form his mouth any way Elvis died the vet said of a heart attack.Why would a healthy 6 month old dog die from a simple operation and did they need to take the needle out. Should this operation be done by 1 person


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh my goodness. I am so sorry to hear that Elvis died after having surgery.

It sounds like your vet did the same things I would do. If I take an xray and see a needle inside of a dog I always recommend surgery. The reason for this is that if the needle penetrates through the stomach or intestines it is very likely to cause a serious problem that could be life threatening.

This surgery is definitely one that can be done by a single person.

It's hard to say why Elvis died. It's possible that he had a congenital problem with his heart. Or, in other words he may have been born with a heart problem.

Bulldogs can sometimes have difficulty with anesthesia. They have a very small trachea (windpipe) and it is often hard to get an endotracheal tube in. But, where we usually see problems with the anesthetic is at the start of the procedure and not afterwards.

If you are suspicious that something was done incorrectly you can ask your vet for an independent autopsy to be done. This way another vet can look at the body and determine if there was any negligence.

My guess, however, is that this is just a very very unfortunate situation.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you for your prompt reply. The dog had just gone through an operation 3 weeks prior by the same vet to have him neutered with no issues would he not at that time see that his heart was not strong?? My thinking is that the dog should not have been put under after just eating. Am planning to visit the vet today are there certian questions I should be asking?? It is a big loss to the family as a loving member but if it was the heart would the vet be able to give my daughter some documents stating this so she can go back to the breeder?? It is hard to believe this could happen have never heard of anything like this before.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It's really hard to say about his heart. One would think that if there was a heart condition it would have affected him on his first operation. But, it is in theory possible that the second anesthesia was more stressful on his heart than the first.

It is possible that this was related to him having a full stomach. If a dog vomits under anesthesia and then breathes that in then they can get something called aspiration pneumonia which is very serious. Or, they can choke on the vomit and die suddenly.

I think an important question to ask the vet was whether there was a breathing tube in place, and whether that tube was left in for long enough. When I do surgery on bulldogs I always leave the tube in until they are awake enough to be sitting up. That way if they vomit then they are alert enough to be able to either spit it out or swallow it and not choke on it.

If Elvis vomited while the endotracheal tube was in then the vomiting is not likely the cause of his death but rather a symptom. If the tube was in then this protects his airway and he could not choke. Some dogs will vomit while they are in the process of dying.

If it was his heart, unfortunately the only way to know for sure is to have a post mortem exam done with samples sent away to a pathologist. Many heart conditions are not obvious unless the heart muscle is looked at under a microscope.

Again, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.