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Dog died suddenly.

Species: Dog
Breed: Yorkshire Terrier
Age: 11-15 years
Dr. Marie -

We had a Yorkshire Terrier (would have been 12 years old in August). He was around 10-11 pounds. He always has trouble with allergies. We had him groomed to help with itching, and also took him to the vet and he was given small dose of Depo-Medrol shot for allergies. He had taken Prednisone pills before but breathed hard on it, so Dr. weaned him off. We were also using Benadryl anti-itch and Gold Bond anti-itch on his skin as it was really irritated from his allergies. Vet also had us to give him Hydroxizine, and bath him in vet shampoo with Hydrocortisone 1% in it once per week.

Two days after the depo-medrol shot, we took him on ride with us, and he ate a few bites of ice cream as he often does with us. When we went home later, he was normal and even climbed up bed. Wife walked in room and wondered why he was panting so hard...He had been doing this because he had been itching himself at the backside and then pants hard afterward so I thought that is what he had been doing.

Suddently he jumped off bed and went under the bed. He all of a sudden got the "death rattle" and we got him out from under the bed in a minute. He was running from side to side as I tried to get him out, so I though he was just playing like he usually does when he gets a sock or something.

When he got out from the bed, my wife held him, and he took about 2 more breathes and was gone. It happened that fast, with no sign and no warning. We are just heart-broken.

After he died, he had some bubbly froth come out of his nose that was red tinged. My wife had given him his Hydroxixine for allergies right before this, and put cream on his belly so he would not itch.

What would have caused him to leave us so fast? He did not have vomit, diarreah, anything like that and did not get into any poison or anything.

We took care of this little guy for almost 12 years, always taking him to the vet, giving him love, he was our baby. Now I am so sad with him not being here with us. I just need answers as to what could have happened. Would the depo-medrol did something to him 2 days after taking the shot? I know Yorkies can live 15 years plus, and I just dont know what else we could have done to help him, as we took very good care of him just like a child.

Thank you so much for taking time to help me, as we are just crushed by this.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am so sorry to hear that this happened. It is never easy to lose a pet and sometimes it can be even harder if we don't know what happened.

It's going to be difficult to answer your question as there are many possibilities as to what happened. There is a really good chance that Mercedes' death was not directly related to the steroid injection. Although some yorkies can live for a very long time, 12 is still elderly for any dog.

Sometimes chronic use of steroids (especially if they were in high doses) can cause liver or kidney problems. However, if his death was because of one of these conditions it would not likely be so sudden. I would have expected to see some vomiting, lethargy and other symptoms.

The description of the fluid that came from his nose leads me to believe that he had bloody fluid in his lungs. This could be from a heart problem (which can be a cause of sudden death), a tumor in the chest (cancer), a pulmonary embolism (like a stroke that affects the lungs) or a number of other things.

Unfortunately the only way to know for sure what happened would be to have a vet do a post mortem exam.

However, I can tell you that it does sound like there was nothing you could have done to prevent this and this was extremely unlikely to have been caused by anything anyone had done.

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. 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.