I am so sorry to read this and my heart goes out to you.
Unless you have the Vet do a necropsy, there is really no way to tell the definite cause. Could have heart, an internal bleed, tumor, seizure, etc.
There is no such thing as "just a dog", you loved her, and she was part of your family, and you must be grieving right now. I am so very sorry she passed away like this, it must be such a terrible shock for you.
I don't think there was one thing you could have done. Her death was almost instantaneous by the sound of it. If she had felt ill before this she would have wakened, probably jumped off the bed, and wakened you. Whatever happened must have happened very suddenly, and it's also possible she was only semi-awake when it happened.
If she showed no signs of feeling ill before this, or any symptoms, such as not eating, lethargy, or anything else....then you could not possibly have known. And it was completely out of your control.
I can't say what may have taken her. Possibly a heart attack, or brain hemorrage. But the only way to know for certain would be to have an autopsy (necropsy) done.
I am so sorry for your loss. It's never easy to accept the loss of a beloved 4-legged family member, and it's more difficult still when there is no explanation for that loss.
Vocalizing like that at the moment of death most normally means a cardiac or cerebral event of some sort. The only way to tell for sure, as Ginger has said, would be to have the vet perform a necropsy. Sometimes there are outward signs that a vet can spot without doing an actual internal necropsy but most often, the only way to tell for sure would be to perform the full procedure.
Please don't beat yourself up over this. Even if you had been awake, chances are very good that by the time she made the noise that you heard, there was no time left to save her. In cardiac or cerebral events, the dog is often unresponsive by this time and you would not have been able to get her to even an emergency vet on time to save her. Again, my most sincere condolences on her loss.
Thank you for your post. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I know what you are experiencing. I just lost my 15.5 year old Papillon. She was happy & full of energy even at 15.5 years old. People that she was a puppy AND she was in good health. She never showed signs of illness. So her sudden death came as a complete shock.
Your post helped me with all the second guessing I've done with my dog's passing. My dog made a choking sound at 6 am. I went to her & patted her back, massaged her tummy & she was fine. Nothing came out. She wheezed a little, then fell asleep. I went back to bed. A couple of hours later I heard a horrible scream. I jumped out of bed & found her in the living room on her side. She felt stiff. I rubbed her for a few minutes & then she stood up. I called the vet, office closed. I called pet emergency & they told me to bring her in. We spent the entire day at the hospital. They put her on oxygen, did an xray & ultra sound. It was determined she had an enlarged heart & defective valve. She was on oxygen & diuretics all day. By 6pm she had labored breathing & when I saw her struggling to breathe I knew it was time. I asked the vet if there was a glimmer of hope & she said 100% no. I've struggled with the thought that I shouldn't have rushed her to the hospital. Perhaps the oxygen, diuretics & stress is what killed her? Then again had I kept her at home & if she died at home later, I would have wondered why didn't I rush her to the hospital. It's a dilemma.
I just learned dogs can scream due to a bad dream. That never crossed my mind. She was my first dog so I never heard of that. So hearing about your experience as someone who didn't rush their dog to the emergency helps with my grieving. Either way we'll never know the answer for sure. I think when it's their time to go, it happens and we can never prepare for it. They are part of the family & it's hard to let them go. Be well & know you did the best you could.
EIC...a common genetic syndrome in Labs because they are the most popular breed. Exercise Induced Collapse. The same thing happened to my healthy 3 year old Lab after a walk and a couple of fetches in the park. He also screamed before he died. The vet tech who came to help said she often saw that and it was because their systems were shutting down and they don’t know what’s happening. EIC is often NOT fatal and mistaken for heatstroke. Often, they get weak in the hindquarters. It happens to dogs beteeen the ages of 5 months and 3 years (my dog had just turned 3). They are studying it at the University of Minnesota’s veterinary school. Dogs who have the gene from both mom and dad get it. Usually they are perfect specimens who are excitable and driven to retrieve. They have a DNA test for it that costs about $50.
It’s a traumatic thing to have happen to you and your pet, but don’t beat yourself up about not knowing what was happening at the time.
i feel you deeply. My cat passed away just yesterday , he was in pain as an abscess or some infection had developed in his lower leg due to another cat's bite. He tried to tell me by mewing but i couldnt see the wound because of his fur. I knew he was in pain but even the vets couldnt figure it out. Alas my dad gave him poison by injecting it since he was in so much pain, we couldnt think of anything else. i miss him so much, i loved him alot and i really miss those times when he would cuddle up right next to me ..i wish i had been a better cat owner. as for your case i feel you alot i think your dog probably passed away because of a neurological disorder since there was twitching or abnormal release of nerve impulses. he definitely had some headache with it as well so he was whimpering.
hope this helps