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Dog died at the vet's

Species: Dog
Breed: Brussels Griffon/Kin
Age: 8-11 years
A couple weeks ago I noticed our dog Gauge was straining to urinate but couldnt. I read one of the former questions on your site, your answer that it was an emergency and I rushed him to the vet. The vet knocked him out, did X-rays and blood tests. X rays showed that his bladder was so swollen it was making him constipated as well, they didnt see any tumors or stones, blood work showed that there wasnt any infection. Vet said the prostate felt a little big but nothing that concerned him. We left before he woke back up so the vet could insert a catheder and so Gauge could stay the night. The next morning the vet called and said the catheder went in smooth, he didnt feel or sense any obstruction and that later that night, he took Gauge for a walk and he was passing stool on his own. It was then he told me the next morning when his assistant went in she found him dead. I know it doesnt matter anymore but I cant help but be suspicious that the vet might not be telling me the whole story. Because I left before he woke up I thought maybe it was an anesthesia complication. The way the Vet talked to me on the phone he was acting very defensive. kept saying "I dont know what happened" actually, that was the first thing he said to me when I answered with "hello?" like I said I know it doesnt matter much anymore because we had Gauge cremated that afternoon but I figure maybe you could put my mind to rest so that I could feel safer about taking any future pets to him or if you think we should look for a new vet.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm so sorry for your loss!

I really don't have an answer for you as to what would have happened. It is very unlikely that this is because of negligence.

If I have a case like this (and unfortunately we have all had animals die from time to time when we are treating them) I always offer the owner the chance to have a post mortem exam done at another vet hospital.

With that being said, there was definitely something serious going on with Gauge. If he was straining to urinate and the vet could not see any problem there is a possibility that there was cancer in the wall of his bladder. It's not always possible to see this. If there was cancer there, then there could have been cancer in other places as well which would contribute to his death.

I know this is hard, but I think it is quite unlikely that the vet did anything wrong. One thing that you could do is ask the vet for a copy of your records from that day and then have another vet review them.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---



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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.

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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.