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Pug died suddenly.

Species: Dog
Breed: Pug: 4yrs old
Age: 2-5 years
Aloha,
Our beloved Pug Tobi passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday and as much as I want to let it go...finding reason I believe will help with the healing process. Here's what happened:

My wife as she usually does a few times a week took Tobi and our daughter for a walk. Tobi is overweight so we were in the process of helping him lose the weight. This walk was a little longer than normal but Tobi was able to walk the entire distance. As we usually do after walks we bring him in, let him drink water, and he usually just lays on his stomach to recuperate as he's breathing heavily. About an hour later I checked up on him and noticed there was poop all over the floor, which was unusual since he doesn't poop in the house unless we're away for an extended period of time. The poop was soft and wet but not what I would consider diarrhea and it was not bloody. Not thinking much of it and considering he was too tired to walk I picked him up and carried him outside under a cool shady area for him to lay down as I cleaned the room with the poop. As I carried him I noticed a piece of poop fell out of his butt onto the floor. Again I was unsure what to make of it. I noticed as I carried him that his stomach was wet but figured it was from the water he was drinking.

We left him out there for about and hour checking on him frequently. We misted his body with water to help him cool down and he seemed to get better as his breathing wasn't to rapid. We brought him in house as night approach and laid him on a blanket. His breathing was deep but not rapid. We noticed as we would massage his body the his muscles would twitch and about 20mins later he stopped breathing. I rushed him to the animal hospital but it was too late...

Upon doing some research heat stroke seemed possible but he didn't have any signs of vomit or bloody stool. Another was he had a heart attack due to him being overweight and the stress of that walk on that day. Still we are unsure and very much heart broken knowing at some point we should've just rushed him to the vet...hopefully you can help us find some sort closure... Thank you in advance!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am so sorry to hear this. What a traumatic situation. :(

I won't be able to give you the exact reason why Tobi died. But I can give you a few of my thoughts.

Pugs can be susceptible to something called brachycephalic syndrome. Dogs can definitely die from brachycephalic syndrome, but if this were the case I would expect to be seeing more trouble with breathing.

Heat stroke is definitely possible. You do not always see bloody stool and vomiting with heatstroke. It can cause organ failure and can follow the symptoms that you described. It all depends on how warm it is where you are. If it was relatively warm and you feel that heatstroke is possible then it probably was something that was just waiting to happen. The short airway of pugs can make them have difficulty cooling themselves and makes them more susceptible to heat stroke.

It is hard to interpret the stool falling out of him and difficulty walking. It is possible that he suffered a back injury. Pugs can be susceptible to intervertebral disc disease. This is not usually fatal though. But, it is in theory possible that there was internal bleeding that went along with a spinal problem and this could be fatal. It's also possible that the difficulties with stool and walking were simply due to him being in shock from something else such as heatstroke.

The question I usually get asked in cases like this is whether or not a poisoning was possible. It sounds unlikely from what you have described.

From what you have described it sounds like there was not much that could have been done.

I wish I could give you a more definite answer.

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.

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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.