I am a disheartened Labrador Retriever Owner, who has lost his dearest friend, his first child, 3months back in December 2012. His name was Alex and he was just 4 years and 9 months old. The Vet who has seen him, vaccinated him and treated him right from his childhood, treated him for Gastric Ulcer as the symptoms suggested. I have consulted with few other vets as well but the line of treatment was same. So, I finally followed my vet's suggestions but that could not save his life. We never have imagined that the disease could be so serious that it could take his life neither we apprehended such a misery. We were thinking of his recovery only while he was slowly progressing towards his end.
As I can recapitualte the series of events I can summarize that my Alex had Gastric disorders right from his childhood but not so frequent. I thought every dog must have the same and used normal medicines like antacids, digestive pills etc to cure him up. Once when he was just 7 months old he suffered Gastroentrytis (severe loose motions) but with just over a week's treatment he recovered well. He used to have colic pains / stomach pains once in 2-3 months and the symptoms were he used to run around the room with one side of his belly swollen up and finally used to sit down to get relief. Duration of this event usually was about 2-3 monutes every time it occured. He used to get de-wormed in every 3 months. Often I used to think that any of his stomach disorders could be due to development of worms. Many a times he used to lick the floors and sometimes vomit. We thought that too as natural phenomenon as the vet always suggested to give antacids and digestive enzymes to cure this kind of ailment. He used to eat only home made food right from his childhood. He refused to eat any type of ready made dog foods. His food contained - Cooked Red Meat, Fish (till he was 2 years old), Egg, Curd (White Yogurts), Rice, Chapatis (Indian Hand made Breads), Papaia (usually with meat) and Potatos (seldom given in cooked meat / fish). His foods usually contained very little amount of termeric powder, sugar, salt, refined oil, Onions and Garlic during cooking. Apart from all these he was a Mango, Ice Cream and chocolate Lover and we were unknown of the fact that chocolates could be harmful for dogs (Theobromine). Once a Vet told us not to give a small amount of chocolate to him, we stopped giving it to him. From his chilhood he was a little over weight. When He grew up, he was about 40 Kgs, 5-6 Kgs over weight than an ususal Labrador Retriever. He was heavy boned and muscular and used to have regular walks with me and his handler (upto 3 years of age when he used to go to Dog shows) except for the last 8-9 months of his life when I could not give him much time for regular exercise and walks due to some of my unavaoidable personal engagements.
Now I can recapitualte that the event of his last journey in this World started when on one fine morning I saw him running around the rooms and suddenly he started slipping on his heaps. He was finding it difficult to stand on his rear legs and his back side was constantly slipping on the floor. Immediately, I called up the vet and after listenning to this and having known him for over 4 years, he suggested Neurobion forte (a Vitamin B Complex Capsule) and hot water bag spunge on his back. I applied the same and within an hour he was much better. So, my vet concluded that it's a temporary muscle cramp which occures in Large Breeds during Winter and suggested me to start his regular walks again. Immediately I called up his old handler and he started coming 3 days a week (as usual) for his walks. He was supposed to be de-wormed at that time so I applied de-wormers as well after 2-3 days from this event, as per de-worming schedule. From the day itself when Alex slipped on his heaps, he started throwing loose stool as was informed to me by his handler. I did not bother on his words as I was following vet's suggestions. After the de-worming the loose motion continued and liquid stools were coming out with aparent gas throws from the rectum. I took the suggestion of the vet and started giving Alex pills with digestive enzymes and antacids. The condition deteriorated slowly. As I was watching but didn't really give value, Alex was getting leaner over the past 2-3 months. I thought that's a good sign, he is loosing some weight may be due to controlled feeding. But, after the Heap Slip incident Alex's weight was fast getting reduced. He started vomitting after 4-5 days, once a day, then twice a day and then thrice a day and was medicated with anti-vomiting pills along with the enzymes and antacids and after few more (may be 2-3 days) he started throwing up black tarry tools. This time I went to another experienced Vet and told about this with current medicines. He diagnosed Alex's body temperature (around 103 degrees celcius) and saw that he is having congestion in his chest. So, he suggested oral medicines which included anti biotics, antacids, enzymes and anti-vomitting pills. Another 2 days passed by and Alex was throwing Black stool and was vomitting yellowish water having bright blood stains in it. I again went back to my usual vet and he suggested to take him to the Vet hospital where He needed to have Intravenous Injections as vomitting is restricting the action of oral medicines. The same sort of medicines were pushed to Alex through Saline Water into his veins and the Vets of the Hospital continued the same line of treatment. They and also my Vet suggested us not to give anything orally to Alex. Not even Water. Alex was having shivvering hind portion right from the Heap Slip day, but by this time he totally lost control over his heaps and his heap was down. He was literally limping with his front legs. The Salination (twice a day) continued for 1 more day. Along with the antibiotics and antacids, the doctors gave de-colic injections (intra muscular), Respiratory Relief Injections (Intravenous) and Normal Fever Reduction Injection (below the skin) as well. Nothing could save him. That was his last night. His body temperature was rising but the vet and their juniors told that the medicines will take some time to act. I was waiting them to act on. Nothing happened. My dog was literally got tortured by the pain he had in his stomach and finally succumbed.
I wish I should have given him some water to drink which might have reduce his body temperature. I wish i should have put some wet cloths in his arm pits and abdomen to reduce his temperature. I could do nothing except giving him (as suggested by the vet) light water spray 2-3 times that night in his mouth so that his throat doesn't dry up. My World was lost on Sunday Morning (16th December 2012) when Alex took his last breath. With the same hands that have brought him to our house, I burried him. He was such a well natured dog, never ever have bitten or scratched any body. never ever have demanded or destroyed anything. Probably, wanted some water to drink. My sick sense didn't prevail and I could not fulfill his wish. It's a pain, a trauma, a deep wound which is never gonna heal in my life. but I want to know what exactly happened to my Alex.
Can anybody Help me up in finding my answer.
Amarjit Biswas, Kolkata, India
I have no answers for you, just wanted to say
so sorry for your loss. The pain is unbearable at
times, but will get better.
I am so very sorry for your unimaginable loss and grief. Without an invasive autopsy immediately after he passed, it if difficult to pinpoint what exactly caused his death. It sounds as though your poor boy had lifelong gastrointestinal issues that finally overwhelmed him. You obviously loved your boy dearly and tried very hard to help him. Try to find peace and comfort in memories of him in happy, healthy times.
Impossible to know what happened to your dog at this point. I find a number of things in your post questionable. I would not feed a dog what you fed yours - onions and garlic are not usually part of a dog's diet and can be problematic. Once he showed signs of having a touchy stomach a bland limited ingredient diet (one protein like chicken and one carb like rice) might have helped. The loose stool and bile vomit are both signs of an inflamed gut.
I think your vets should have taken x-rays of your dog at some point.
I don't understand the frequent wormings - my dogs are wormed when they have worms found in a fecal exam. The only worm preventative they get is for heartworms and they get that about every 45 days. Don't know if heartworm is prevalent there in India.
So - I really can't say what caused your dog's untimely death, but it seems to me that he was not well served by your vet. I am very sorry for your loss.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
I am so sorry for your loss. Unfortunately it would be impossible for any of us to know what happened to your Alex. I understand your grief and guilt, I lost my Ozzy much too young and I have no answer as to what happened to him. I spent much time at the vets having every imaginable test done to no avail.
Sometimes there just are not answers. There is nothing I can say to make you feel better, in time the horrible pain will lessen and you will find yourself remembering the good times, it just takes time. Again, I am so very sorry for your pain and loss.
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
I also started thinking that my Vet didn't serve me well at times when his diagnosis and treatments were of utmost importance. but he was the person to have seen my Alex since he was 3-4 months old and except few nagging and recurring skin problems (scales and boils, some times opened up with some secretions) Alex didn't have any other major health problems. His upset tummy was thought to be normal since he was an aggressive eater. He was very strong as well about 24.5 inches tall weighing about 40 Kgs. We were always in a mood of satisfaction that Alex has grown up well built, much better than his parents did. However, I still think that Alex could have been saved had he been treated by some one else, some other renound vet in this area. on the other hand, I still can't conclude on whether he could have been saved by any other renound vet or not. I have taken him to several vets during that period and none of them changed the line of treatment only changed the mode of treatment from oral to intravenous.
In India as the vet's suggest Cats, Dogs and many other mammals are de-wormed with a schedule in order to avoid unnecessary growth of normal worms and hook worms coming from the surrounding atmosphere, stray animals and other unhealthy conditions. Dogs are usually de-wormed thrice a year with repeat de-worming every 21 days after the main course. Repeate de-wormings are done to kill the resistant worms who have survived from the main course of de-worming. This altogether comes to around 6 de-wormings in a year. Lever Guards are used 3 days before and after (including the day of de-worming) de-worming to protect the Lever of the Dog from it's effect. One De-wormer per 10 Kg of the Dog are used. That's why, once grown up, every time I had to give Alex 4 De-wormers, considering his weight as 40 Kgs.
Using Onions and Garlic in his food were just for a good taste. They were given in very small proportion to that of the quantity of the meat or egg whatever on offer for him for cooking. Our vet also never told us not to use it while cooking his food neither anybody associated with dogs in my friend circles. Their pets were and still doing just fine having very tiny amount of onion and Garlic in their food. Having said that, I agree that Onions and Garlic or any thing which grows below the ground are not good for canines.
Somebody have suggested me that my Alex might have cancer in his stomach which is very difficult to diagnose untill it shows very drastic symptoms at the end stages. Can this happen to a Dog of just 5 years of age?
Could there be any Genetic issues with him as dogs usually have very strong digestive systems and tummy problems are not so frequent in them?
Or everything we used to give him for eating backfired on his health?
I would appreciate if you can give some inputs on this.