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Did my healthy dog have a heart attack?

hi, this last Sunday night my poor baby dog who was turning 7 in August suddenly collapsed and died. My husband and I had just gotten home from an overnight trip when a thunderstorm was just hitting our house. We had been home maybe 10 minutes if that, when we were unloading our truck and I had gone inside to take a few things in, my husband came running into the house saying "I need you! Something is wrong with Missy!" I bolted outside and by the time we got to her we think she was already gone....my husband did everything he could including mouth to mouth and still nothing. She has always been a little afraid of storms but hasn't been the same since last summer when we had a whole string of bad ones, we tried calming her down but she would just pace back and forth, so I don't know if something had happened during one of those storms when we were at work and we just didn't know or what. We have gone on overnight trips before and nothing was ever abnormal, the only thing we noticed this time was that she didn't eat the food we had left out for her, but that also isn't THAT abnormal, she has always only "picked" at her food. She was so healthy and energetic and was acting completely normal other than being nervous about the storm before she collapsed. it was just so quick and unexpected, she was here and then in a blink of an eye she was gone. were just looking to get some advice and maybe some closure, she meant the world to us and her sudden death is killing us and has left us feeling very empty and alone. on top of all of this, I am 7 months pregnant with my first and we have been trying to focus on the baby but its very difficult. thank you for taking the time to look into this and for any advice. anything helps. <3
11 Responses
1916673 tn?1420233270
Hi. First and foremost, I am very sorry for your loss.

I have to admit to being slightly confused ... are you saying you had left Missy on her own for the period you were away or do you mean this all happened as all three of you returned home from your trip?

Tony
675347 tn?1365460645
COMMUNITY LEADER
I am so very sorry about your loss of dear Missy. It is always terribly sad when the have to leave us, but even worse I think when it comes as a sudden shock.

She seemed perfectly well the evening before? Everything normal....and in the days leading up to that? Were there any subtle signs....such as sleeping more than usual, not wanting to walk as far, anything at all?

It is possible she died of a heart attack brought on by a combination of sudden stress because of the storm, and excitement because you had returned home...

The only way to know for sure would be to have her boy autopsied (necropsy) But that of course, you may understandably not wish to do.
974371 tn?1424653129
I too am sorry for this tragic event and for your loss.

Nothing more I can a add and the only way you may be able to determine the cause is to have a necropsy done.  Not sure what you did with Missy but you would have to speak with your Vet about this as too much time may have passed.

Without any knowledge or evidence of some pre-existing condition and her history of the effects she experienced during storms, it may well have been a heart attack.  It really sounds like there wasn't anything you could do other then the efforts you took at the time.

So very sorry for your loss.  Of course you are grieving, understandably so.  You will get past this and need to concentrate on the arrival of your new baby.
Avatar universal
thank you for your kindness and support. Yes, we had taken an overnight trip to Montana for my birthday. We left at 5AM Saturday and returned at around 5PM the following afternoon. She had plenty of food, water, and toys and it wasn't like it was the first time we had gone on an overnight trip. Plus, since we both work full time, she has always been along during the day until we get home, which is something I've never liked but had always tried to make up for after work and on the weekends, so I don't think us being away did it unless it was a combination of excitement for us being home and nerves about the storm and it was just too much. I just recently recalled that her mother had something similar happen to her when Missy was just a pup(ive had her since birth). Her mom just collapsed during a storm one night as well, so maybe its hereditary? I just don't know...this has been such a tough time for us and we just don't know what to do. I'm struggling with being alone, I have been attached to my husband's hip since it happened and yesterday was our first day back at work and I was so scared to be at the house by myself in the 2 hour difference of him leaving for work and me leaving for work that I went to my dad's house just so I wouldn't be alone.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your kindness and support. We had noticed that during fetch she tired a little sooner than normal and would lay down but we figured it was due to the rising heat recently, it went from pretty cold to mid-high 70's rather quickly but that was really the only thing that we noticed. She was normal when we got home Sunday, excited to see us, jumping around but still a little nervous about the storm. My husband thought maybe she was struck by lightening at first but he checked for burn spots and her body wasn't hot like you would think it would be if she had been struck. its just so devastating. We figured the only way we would know for sure would be autopsy but at this point I think it would be more traumatizing than helpful, I couldn't even watch him put her into the ground when we buried her, I just didn't want my last image of her to be like that. Thank you again.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your kindness and support. I was telling someone else that I had forgotten that Missy's mom had something similar happen to her when Missy was a puppy, she just collapsed during a storm, however with Cheyanne, she was still "here" for a little longer. With Missy it was like she was out like a light, I hope she was here long enough to see that we were doing everything we could to bring her back. But I'm thinking maybe it was something hereditary? I am really trying hard to focus on the baby but its tough and I'm having, I don't know if its separation or abandonment issues, I haven't left my husband's side until we both went back to work yesterday and that was a huge struggle....I just cant be alone.
1916673 tn?1420233270
Hi. I think you've hit the nail on the head, to be honest. It was probably a combination of maybe being anxious for quite a long time (anticipating your return) and the stormy weather that together was too much for her heart. There may well be a genetic component to this, if her mother also had a similar thing happen to her. Perhaps there was a hereditary heart disorder that previously was unknown and showed no symptoms.

It's so hard when a best friend passes suddenly and I can only offer my sincere condolences. Grief affects us all differently. The only thing I can honestly say is that, in time, things do get easier. You obviously must think of your baby, which will be here very soon, and therefore maybe trying to focus on that will help distract your thoughts onto a more positive event.

Best wishes

Tony
Avatar universal
again, thank you so much for your kindness and support. I hope it starts to get easier soon because I hear and see her everywhere which only makes me sadder. my dad is really worried about me and thinks that a new puppy will help ease the pain, he has my husband convinced too but I feel like this new puppy, it wont be Missy and on top of that I feel like id be cheating on her. at the same time, my husband is also really struggling and needs a distraction....if only I were due sooner....I still have 3 months.
1916673 tn?1420233270
Hi. I don't ordinarily give advice or suggestions about things like this, but I think this is an exception ... you really should not get a new puppy at this very early stage following the loss of Missy. It's far too soon. Plus - and this is a big plus - you need to concentrate now on your forthcoming baby and not be stressed out or distracted by a new puppy. A new baby is exhausting, so you really would not be being fair to yourself, your baby or a new puppy if you became too tired and too distracted to look after either of them.

You are also going to be grieving for weeks to come, which would also interfere with how you interacted with a new puppy, and again, this would not be fair.

I think you should just wait ... give it a few months after the birth of your baby, and then re-assess the situation. This would also give you time to think perhaps about a rescue dog, rather than a breeder's puppy. Rescue dogs really need forever homes and there are thousands waiting (sometimes on death-row) for kind new parents to take them home. Kennel staff are often great at offering advice, particularly with suitable dogs for a family where there is a new baby.

Tony
Avatar universal
I really appreciate your advice and I agree with you. Hopefully everything will just fall into place soon and I wont have to worry about anything. Thank you again for your support, you have been very helpful. :)
1916673 tn?1420233270
Hi. You are very welcome. Please let me know how things work out for you.

Tony
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