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Cause of death?

Species: Dog
Breed: basset hound
Age: 5-8 years
Hi Dr. Marie,

I\'m sorry that I can\'t afford to pay for an answer, but your response would be very helpful to me in providing closure on my dogs recent death. Lew was recovering from surgery. He had not had anything to eat or drink in 48 hours. We were worried about making sure he got proper hydration, as well as making sure he was able to take his antibiotics and pain killers. In a desperate attempt to get him to drink water and take his medication, we fed him water through a turkey baster. We put the pills in the back of his throat and then put the water down his throat. He visibly swallowed the water. He did not cough or try to resist. However, he died within 2 hours after that. Did we kill him? Did we drown him by giving him too much water too fast? It couldn\'t have been more than 16-24 oz. of water. Was this too much? Please let us know if our actions were wrong for the future, or if we can rest at ease knowing that we could not have killed him this way.

Thank you!

Felissa Miller


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that your dog passed away.

From what you've described it sounds unlikely that the administration of pills caused Lew's death. If Lew had aspirated water he definitely would have been coughing an uncomfortable right at the time that the pills were administered.

I'd need more information in order to speculate on the cause of death. If he was having surgery, then it sounds like there were other issues.

But rest assured that this is very unlikely to be your fault.

So sorry for your loss.

Dr. Marie.

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



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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.