Why Did My Dog Die: Causes of Sudden Death

Why Did My Dog Die: Causes of Sudden Death

The terrible unforeseen loss of a dog is constantly painful. The majority of us don’t think about our dogs all of a sudden passing away with no caution, however it does take place. Understanding what took place and how it happened are a considerable part of closure to our loss.

Why Did My Dog Die: Causes of Sudden Death

In a study of autopsies carried out at Purdue University Small Animal Diagnostic Laboratory over a five-year duration, nearly 10 percent (112 cases) had been related to abrupt unanticipated death. None of these dogs had a history of existing disease.

Dog owners frequently jump to conclusions in these cases — “Somebody poisoned my dog!” — when in reality destructive poisonings are very unusual and the majority of those thought are inadvertent direct exposures. The causes discovered by pathologists included:

  • Cardiac disease
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Unnoticed trauma
  • Poisoning and infection (less typical)

A similar study had actually been published in Canada and resulted in similar figures.

Causes of Death

Sadly, in spite of all efforts, some causes of death stay undetermined. Nevertheless, it is constantly good to pursue a cause of death for your very own assurance and to protect other pets.

General causes of abrupt death can be grouped according to the organ system involved:

Toxins might also be involved however nobody toxic substance is most likely to have actually caused a dogs death than others.

Purdue University Survey

Here is a much deeper look into some of the results from the Purdue University research study.

  • Heart disease: Cardiovascular diseases including primary myocardial or heart muscle degeneration, necrosis, hypertrophy, fibrosis cardiac vascular disease, heart growths, valvular/congenital abnormalities and cardiomyopathies can result in sudden death. Heart involved tumors include hemangiosarcomas but other cancers might be less evident and can likewise be a cause. Primary cardiomyopathies represented about 6% of cases in the study and abrupt wear and tear of valvular disease that has been present for some time can lead to fast death.


  • Gastrointestinal disease: Most gastrointestinal diseases lead to death over a short quantity of time, but are seldom unexpected. Unexpected cases of parvovirus with no clinical signs, intestinal torsion or volvulus all can result in a quick degeneration and supreme death.


  • Injury: There were 9 out of 112 dogs that were discovered to have actually passed away from unseen trauma. Even dogs restricted to a fenced area might discover their way to the street or fall from a height.


  • Breathing illness: Pneumonia, pyothorax and infiltrative illness might appear sudden in beginning but frequently have actually been present for some time before death. Ensure your dog gets regular checkups to keep him safe.


  • Neurologic disease: Encephalitis and meningitis might be associated as causes of death but have actually probably been present and symptomatic for a time before death. Seizure disorders do not result in death unless they persist for an extended time.


  • Urinary disease: Although urinary diseases such as infections and blockages can be associated with death they do not cause unexpected death.


  • Poisoning: Poisoning, either malicious or unintentional, frequently comes to mind in cases of unexpected death but as specified, harmful poisoning in this study was uncommon. Only 6 of the 112 dogs analyzed were found to have actually died from poisoning — all likely unintentional.

Sadly over 20% of cases had no determination of the cause of death. Nevertheless, every effort should be made to find the reason for unforeseen death be it unexpected or not. This is important for your individual assurance along with for the defense of other pets.

Also read: Laryngeal Paralysis in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatments

D. Roberts (Junior Expert)
Pet Health
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