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Sudden death in a dog after swimming.

Species: Dog
Breed: pit bull terrier
Age: 2-5 years
My dog was swimming in the lake for 1-2 mins, she came out, then ran around suddenly siffing up and fell over dead! What could have caused this to happen? She was healthy and shots up to date. Thank You


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh my! I am so sorry to hear that this happened.

Unfortunately no one will be able to tell you for sure what happened without doing a post mortem exam. But, I can give you a few of my thoughts.

When a young, healthy dog dies suddenly like this I usually think of a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. Dogs who have this condition will often have no clinical signs. Sometimes a vet can hear a heart murmur, but often we don't. If it was dilated cardiomyopathy then the good news is that your dog likely did not suffer at all.

Another possibility is if your dog had a tumor on the spleen that suddenly ruptured. However, this is more common in older dogs.

I'm very 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.