It's taken me a while to get up the nerve to think about that horrible night, but I honestly need some closure. I could not afford a necropsy (it was $97 to have him cremated and his ashes spread with other dogs at the cemetery - and would have been a ton more for a necropsy). I understand that there can never be a "That is what happened 100%!" answer, but I still just have to know the likely causes of his sudden passing.
He was 5 years old (Born Feb. 8 2004) and passed away at 2am on Saturday (the 11th). He was my little buddy and friend.
First a tiny bit of background info: He weighed 47 lbs (just a lb over his optimal weight - I kept him on a good diet and I always made sure he was at a good weight) and previously had medical issues relating only to his extra toes on the back legs that had to be removed, and that both of his knees (the cruciate ligaments) blew out before he was 4 (he was my expensive puppy).
He had a severe phobia of thunderstorms, and it never went away. He would shiver, pant, get red in the tongue and have occasional snorting fits when a storm went by.
He would also have these snorting fits when he was excited, ever since he was just a few months old. The Vets all said it was like "sneezing backwards".
Friday was just a usual day like any other. I woke up to him prancing at the end of my bed saying "It's pee time!" and taking him up the stairs to go outside. He came in, ate, and about an hour later - as was normal and pretty much routine - he passed a normal poo.
I left for three hours like I did every day, and when I got home storm clouds had gathered (this has been going on for three months in a row now in Denver - it's unusual to have so much rain and storms) and I let him out early so he would not have to go out in the storm. He hated them so much. Well, the storm in the distance played hard to get - as in it stayed in the distance, and Spot had eaten his dinner. He was still fine up to 5pm, we went out - he got the shakes from thunder but he peed fine - but as was normal did not have to do his poo dance yet.
We went back in and he hid under my feet like always. However, at around 7 things changed. He stopped shivering and acted like it was normal - but then he threw up. I figured, he was stressed out from the storm, and needed to go out since there was the smell of, well what can only be described as, dog farts. I carried him out because he was a bit lethargic on the stairs, he walked around, peed, pooped normally (I checked it) and he came back in. He laid down next to the stairs, and it was at this point in retrospect I should have taken him to the emergency vet - but I was convinced that he was just stressed out and had an upset stomach.
There were no further incidents of barfing - but he would not lay next to me. I'm actually feeling that dread feeling I had right before he passed while I write - it's dredging up the memories and the "what ifs". Anyways, I gave him some water and a tiny bit of food. He ate the food, drank the water and laid down. I noticed his skin was cool to the touch, so I put a blanket on him and got ready to take him to the vet the next day. At around 11pm he threw up water, and food, and more water. I comforted him, and kept an eye on him. He seemed tired but okay after that - but his breathing was a tiny bit harder, and I attributed this to him feeling sick.
By this point I had dread that he was ill with something like when he was boarded two years ago, and he had the same problems, minus the cool skin.
I went to bed and let him snuggle next to me, so that I could keep him warm, and I was hoping he would be a little better in the morning. Then the nightmare began. At about 1:30 he threw up in bed, all liquid and clear (I was not stupid, I had a towel ready and under him just in case he had any more problems - but I would be damned if he didn't sleep next to me so I could keep good tabs on my little booboo). I lifted him up to clean it - and when I set him down he didn't stand. He crashed head first and gave me a pitiful "help me!" look, unable to move.
Panic and dread hit me, and I was on the phone trying to find the nearest 24 hour vet. As I hung up I heard him hack, and when I came back into the room his tongue was lo lled out (you should have a :before and after the l o l acronym please), and his eyes glazed - but he was still breathing shallowly. I immediately scooped him into my arms - pretty much yelled on the way out, and had to drive a whole 19 miles to get to the nearest 24hr vet (thanks to the economy the closer one shut down). He was DOA. I spent probably the next hour just sobbing over him and wishing him back to life.
The lady was very understanding, but could not say what killed him. When we first got there I knew he was gone when I rushed him in - but I was still hoping he had a spark in him.
That was really really difficult to write out, and I hope it was at least coherent enough.
Basic onset was at 7pm, and by 2am he was gone. His temperature dropped, he was lethargic and gradually losing control of himself, and he was healthy not but two hours before 7. He began to vomit heavily, and in his vomit it was just his dog food. However when I got back home at 3am, I found more vomit in his crate (which he used only when scared) from what had to have been earlier in the day, and it had a lot of grass in it. This is all I know. At the end he was vomiting up clear liquid, there was never any blood, and all his BMs were totally normal - including his last one. There was also no visible bloating of the stomach (still tight and trim) and the only noticeable smell was after he passed (dog fart smell again).
When he died he went without even making a mess, no post-death urination or defecation, he just went so fast... I wish I would have taken him earlier, but I kept on thinking "he's just stressed from the ----ing storms".
This was a picture I capped of him 2 years ago after getting a camera to work. He was shy and was just waking up when I snapped it.
This was the second to last picture (last one in my avatar) taken of my booboo bear in May
Even though I know he is gone, it feels like a nightmare, something I want to wake up from.