View Full Version : Dry Drowning...need prayers and hope

23rd June 2008, 05:38 AM
Today, things went terrible for our family and our lovable cavalier. She was playing in the yard with my 9 year old. Having fun with the hose and splashing in a VERY shallow, small kiddie pool (like 4 to 5 inches of water). She was fetching toys up off the bottom of the water. She would reach in (maybe the water would reach up to her eyes when she'd put her head under) and pick them up off the bottom. I worked around the yard and even played with them some, and then we came inside. Pixie came in and rolled her wet self around on the carpet and ran around like usual. Then she came over to me begging for a treat, which I gave her. About 2 minutes later, she vomited. It was grass and water, so I thought she was nauseous and had eaten grass, which would also explain the vomiting. I was cleaning that up when she started yelping in pain and looking like she couldn't figure out how to escape her pain. It became clear something was dreadfully wrong. Her pain was extreme, and I couldn't pinpoint it. When I picked her up, I had to do so without reaching under her belly or she would scream. I thought she might have a stomach blockage or something. It is sunday, so the only vet is a 24 hour clinic 40 minutes away. We were driving that way within 5 minutes. Pixie was very tense and still and drooling the whole ride. She wanted to be in my lap, so I held her there as I drove. About 10 minutes from the clinic, she looked like she was going to sleep, and her eyes were darting around under the lids and she was grimacing like she was dreaming. I could feel her heart pounding. Now, I believe she was having a seizure. About 3 or 4 miles from the clinic, she became limp, no heartbeat, no breathing. My daughter was screaming and crying (my other 2 kids, fortunately were with friends) and I was driving and trying to do rescue breathing and cpr at the same time. I had her hugged to my chest, breathing into her nose with her mouth clamped shut and squeezing her chest as best I could and I steering with my knee and flew to the clinic. They were able to restart her heart, but she remains in a coma now 8 hours later, and has had two more cardiac arrests. She is on a ventilator and her blood pressure is low. What we have learned is, Pixie, our sweet water-loving, playful dog, who is just shy of her first birthday, is a victim of dry drowning. It is when water gets in the lungs, but death isn't immediate. The damage to the lungs deprives the brain and heart of oxygen. The vet aspirated much water out of her lungs, but they are damaged from the drowning. We don't know if she will pull through, or if she will have quality of life if she does. They have given her a 10% chance. Please pray for us, or whatever kind of divine intervention you might believe in. We love her dearly, and we are devastated. I feel responsible for encouraging the water fetching game. I know many lovers of cavaliers are here, and I just need a shoulder to lean on. My kids are leaning on me right now.

23rd June 2008, 06:02 AM
Oh, I can't imagine what you and your family must be going through right now. I have never, ever heard of this happening and it breaks my heart just thinking about it.:( Please know that you and your precious dog are in my thoughts and prayers!:hug:

23rd June 2008, 06:14 AM
Thank you. It means a lot to know others understand my love for our dog (more like child) and are pulling for Pixie.

23rd June 2008, 07:32 AM
Oh no. I can't imagine how you must feel right now. I will pray for Pixie and your family. I wouldn't imagine something could happen the way you describe it, and I really hope Pixie recovers. :hug:

23rd June 2008, 08:05 AM
OMG Im in tears reading your post. You must be going crazy. I pray your beautiful baby pulls through and is ok. Ive not heard of this happening before so I am grateful to you sharing your experience with us. Putting myself in your place.....doesnt bare thinking about. I pray Pixie survives this ordeal. I will be thinking of you all today. Gentle hugs to you.

murphy's mum
23rd June 2008, 09:12 AM
Our thoughts and prayers are with you, and your family

23rd June 2008, 10:14 AM
OMG what a terrible thing to happen. Same as the others have never heard of this happening. Well done for keeping ur cool as i dont know if i could of. U and ur fdamily and of course Pixie will be in our thoughts. :hug:

23rd June 2008, 10:27 AM
OMG what a terrible thing to happen. Same as the others have never heard of this happening. Well done for keeping ur cool as i dont know if i could of. U and ur fdamily and of course Pixie will be in our thoughts. :hug:

Yes well done for your fast actions...I will be thinking of you and your little pixie..best wishes for a happy outcome.

23rd June 2008, 10:52 AM
OMG.. I'm shaking all over when reading this..
Please keep us updated, I'll be crossing my fingers today and I'm sure our cavs will be doing the same for Pixie..

I REALLY hope things will work out for the best..
Lots and lots and lots of hugs!!!

23rd June 2008, 11:53 AM
Oh I am so sorry. Thoughts and prayers for you and sweet Pixie and your family. I read something not long ago alerting parents to this and to be careful.

23rd June 2008, 12:12 PM
Oh how awful for you. Have never heard of this before and like you have a cav that loves retrieving things from water!
Thinking of you and hope that Pixie pulls through.

23rd June 2008, 12:22 PM
I am so sorry, I hope Pixie makes a full recovery

23rd June 2008, 12:26 PM
Pixie will be in my prayers today
keep us updated! X

Cleo's Person
23rd June 2008, 12:38 PM
OMG!!! Well done for thinking so quickly in such a stressful situation and getting her to the vet asap.

You are both in my prayers. :hug: :hug:

23rd June 2008, 12:48 PM
Oh my goodness I'm so sorry what a tragic thing to happen.

Pixie and you all are in our thoughts and prayers

23rd June 2008, 12:59 PM
Thank you to all of you for your empathy and kind words. I got up and called to check on her this morning, but am having to wait for their shift change to find out about her night. I am waiting for the River clinic to call. I thought I'd come on here for a little support while I waited for that call. My children are sleeping and I hate to wake them, so we will go to see her when they are up.

What I have learned is that what happened to Pixie is a condition when the water in her lungs gets absorbed into the blood stream through the alveoli sacs. For one, the water in her lungs is starving her brain of oxygen, but also, this alters the blood chemistry dangerously causing the cardiac problems she experienced. Her potassium got dangerously low and her blood sugar got dangerously high. All things that the heart can't tolerate.

I am dreadfully aware that the vet said she needed to be of the ventilator within 24 hours, or her chances were not good (can it get much worse than 10%?). At 1:30 this morning, she still wasn't breathing on her own and had no neurological response. Basically, her heart is beating, but otherwise she's just "there".

I'd give my right arm to go back and change what has happened. All you cav. owners, and any other dog owner, be aware of this problem. The vet who received Pixie at the clinic says she used to see this more frequently when she lived and worked at a clinic near the beach. Hours after a romp and fetch game in the waves at the ocean, dogs would arrive suffering from this. (commonly labradors) If caught before the cardiac arrest, their chances are 50%. As it stands for Pixie now, her chances are 10%. I am holding on to that 10%.

Fortunately, I had registered on here a few months ago to research health insurance for her, and I bought a policy through Embrace based on what you guys reported. For that reason, I feel better about affording her care. The bill so far has reached $1,500.00 already, and I'd hate to think I had to make a decision based on money. I am a single mom with 3 kids, so money isn't always in abundance.

23rd June 2008, 01:46 PM
What a horrible way to start off my Monday morning coffee. I feel sick for you. I've never heard of dry drowning before.

Please know you aren't alone. I'm sure many will be following this post closely praying for good news:xfngr: .

23rd June 2008, 01:50 PM
AWWW, that is so awful. I am praying for Pixie and your family. I am with everyone else, never heard of this. Thanks for the warning though. I am pulling for her to come through this. My thoughts are with you. Keep us posted. Hopefully you will get some good news soon.

23rd June 2008, 01:55 PM
I am so sorry for all you are going through and appreciate you coming on to share the experience and warn others. I hope the support from so many will go some way to easing the distress just a bit and that all our good thoughts will help Pixie too. :flwr:

23rd June 2008, 02:00 PM
How horrible for you and your kids and Pixie. You did so well caring for her and the kids during that drive that must have been a nightmare. I cannot imagine your devastation at this cruel turning of events and pray that Pixie can come back. As I read this I kept thinking it's too early in the am to cry :(. Thank you for sharing with us and giving us fair warning. For you, for the kids and for Pixie prayers of caring.

23rd June 2008, 02:07 PM
Thinking of you and Pixie. Saying a prayer for you. I am so sorry that this happened.

Claire L
23rd June 2008, 02:15 PM
Sending prayers for you Pixie and your family. :hug::hug::hug::hug:

23rd June 2008, 02:23 PM
I am so, so very sorry. What a tragic accident. Thank you so much for alerting us to the dangers of water. I will now be very careful. I will be saying prayers for your little Pixie....Judy

23rd June 2008, 02:37 PM
My prayers are going your way....I hope she pulls through. :xfngr: What a tragedy.

23rd June 2008, 02:46 PM
I am so so sorry! Of course you want to turn back time but there is no way you could have anticipated something like this.:( You were amazing in this crisis situation and you and your daughter will at a later time feel so much better knowing that you did everything that could have been done. I am saying a prayer for you and your family during this difficult time. Hugs

23rd June 2008, 03:33 PM
I am so sorry this happened to you. I am praying for Pixie and hope she pulls through.

Cathy T
23rd June 2008, 03:40 PM
This is just too horrible to even imagine. But, wow, you were so quick thinking and acting on getting her immeditely to the vet. I'm praying that 10% quickly becomes more for her. Please know that we are all out here sending you our prayers and good wishes. I had never heard of this before.

23rd June 2008, 03:49 PM
Your family and Pixie will be in our thoughts. I had just read about dry drowned the other day but never thought about the dog. The article was about young children and gave the warning signs of quick mood changes and be extremely tired and one other thing. It's so scary that it takes time for the affects to show that you know something is wrong. **hugs**

Daisy's Mom
23rd June 2008, 03:57 PM
I, too was in tears reading your post and I'm adding my prayers to the others. I have never heard of dry drowning either, and I know you may have saved other dogs' lives with your post. I am really praying she beats the odds. She sounds like such a sweet dog who is extremely loved.

23rd June 2008, 04:24 PM
This is the saddest, most heartbreaking thing....I have a horrible pit in my stomach just thinking about it. I am so sorry you and your family are going through this, I can't even imagine....

I never would have thought a simple game of water fetch could lead to such tragic consequences... you mustn't blame yourself for any of this, and you were heroic in your response.... such clear thinking in a time of panic.

I'm praying for Pixie to pull through. Please continue to keep us posted. :( :(

Mom of Jato
23rd June 2008, 05:58 PM
How very shocking to hear what happened to your Pixie. I have never heard of dogs being in any danger from playing in shallow water like that. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and reaching out to all of us for support. We will keep you in our thoughts and pray for Pixie.

23rd June 2008, 06:10 PM
I am so sorry to hear about Pixie. :hug: I have recently heard of this happening with young children also. My dad recently sent me this link about dry drowning:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24982210/ (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24982210/)

It is so scarry to know that this can happen to children AND dogs. Lots of hugs and prayers coming from here. :xfngr:

23rd June 2008, 07:24 PM
We just got back from sitting with Pixie. There are very tiny neurological improvements, like moving her limbs some and trying to swallow, but there is no response when tapping the corner of her eye (which is, apparently the gold standard for checking conscious responce). She is still comatose. We will go back in 2 hours to be with her before they remove her from the 100% oxygen and put her on room air. We don't know if she can handle that, but she cannot stay on the solid oxygen longer than the 24 hours. This is a crucial point here. I will update everyone when we return. It is an hour and a half drive round trip, so it will be later today.

I want to thank each and every one of you for all your kindness and heartfelt sympathy. It is comforting to see how many people care. If you didn't notice the post I left this morning (my second one...this is the 3rd in the thread) I explained better what causes the cardiac arrest with dry drowning. This is Pixie's enemy now. The three cardiac arrests, and the oxygen deprivation associated with them, have caused an unknown level of brain trauma and we just don't know what is temporary and what she can recover from, if at all.
Thank you all again.

23rd June 2008, 07:32 PM
Pixie and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Hope she is able to pull through the ordeal. :flwr:

Cleo's Person
23rd June 2008, 07:35 PM
Thank you for the update on Pixie. I can't begin to imagine how you are feeling at the moment. I am so delighted to hear about the very small improvements. I hope and pray that Pixie continues to improve.

Gingers Mommy
23rd June 2008, 07:46 PM
I am so sorry to hear this. I am praying for you, pixie and the entire family. What a heartbreaking story.

23rd June 2008, 07:48 PM
OMG I'm so sorry you have had to go through such a terrible ordeal, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and pixie, she looks a little darling.

Barbara Nixon
23rd June 2008, 07:54 PM
Lots of us are thinking about you and Pixie.

People are aware that it can happen to people (a 10 year-old boy earlier this month) where it is usually associated with some kind of trauma at the time of ingestion (this boy had soiled himself in the pool), but didn't realise it could affect dogs.

Elaine 2
23rd June 2008, 08:01 PM
All our love and prayers are going out to Pixie, I'm in tears just reading your post I pray she starts to improve and comes back to you

23rd June 2008, 08:16 PM
My boys and I are sending you lots of love and prayers. This is so sad and I was crying while reading your post. I can't imagine what you are going through but I hope that she returns to you soon.

23rd June 2008, 09:07 PM
I am sending my best to you all. I am at a loss for words this is all so terrible. I will continue with best thoughts and prayers

23rd June 2008, 09:20 PM
My thoughts are with you and Pixie, I hope she makes a full recovery :flwr: That is a terrifying story, and you were so quick to jump into action immediately. I think I would have panicked and not known what to do right away. Thank you for the warning about dry drowning, like may people I had never heard of it and will be more careful with my two when they're at the beach. Keep us posted, you have a lot of people pulling for little Pixie! :luv:

23rd June 2008, 09:24 PM
my thoughts and prayers are with you, your family & Pixie. I hope she makes some improment and does okay once removed from the oxygen. :hug:

23rd June 2008, 09:31 PM
OMG that is terrible my thoughts are we u and ur family!!

23rd June 2008, 09:55 PM
There are just no words.

23rd June 2008, 10:20 PM
Thinking of you at this time its just so sad.I pray for you and Pixie shes a little gem.Be strong for her and your kiddies.I cant imagine how you feel,Im crying reading this,you are a strong woman,I really hope Pixie pulls through even if she's not back to her 100% self but just to have her back with you and your family. :lotsaluv::lotsaluv:

23rd June 2008, 10:36 PM
I have never heard of dry drowning until now and I am shocked after reading the article about that 10 YO boy and this poor Cavalier.

I have a toddler, and we live in Florida, so we are in the pool and at the beach all the time. Several times Owen has swallowed water while swimming. I had no idea this could potentially happen! I'm so glad i know now to be more cautious.

I hope your Cavalier pulls through. I can't imagine what you're going through.

23rd June 2008, 11:09 PM
I just saw this tragic thread...I'm so sorry about your sweet girl - I sincerely hope she pulls through.

It certainly is a big wake-up call for those of us with water-loving Cavaliers. Maggie loves to chase the surf on the beach and occasionally I have dropped toys in the water so she can chase and retrieve them as the water comes into shore. I will be much more careful now. But what a harsh lesson learned...:(

Hugs to you...

Cathy Moon
23rd June 2008, 11:09 PM
I'm so sorry this is happening to you. You and Pixie are in my prayers.

23rd June 2008, 11:17 PM
:( Im so ,so sad to hear this.Sending you ,your family and Pixie my warmest thoughts. :hug::hug::hug::hug::hug:

23rd June 2008, 11:40 PM
This is horrific, and I'm praying for you all and hoping Pixie continues to show some improvement. Thank you also for the flag - my parents now live at the beach and Amber in particular is just the kind to enjoy messing in the water.

24th June 2008, 01:19 AM
We returned from a visit with Pixie this afternoon. They are actually removing the oxygen from her ventilator air slowly, 10% at a time until they hold steady at 60%. The vet said that every hour that she remains in a coma worsens her chances. She has so many hurdles. First, we must see if she can handle the reduced oxygen b/c the pure oxygen will damage her brain. If she can, then we need to see some consciousness soon. They really hoped she'd come to by now. I asked the vet what she'd do if it were her dog. She said she'd keep trying for now b/c she has been moving some, more jerking reflexes or flexing reflexes. They want to see her blink. She has a fixed stare and pinpoint pupils. She looks awful.

Pixie needs to come to, because the ventilator is likely to cause pneumonia if continued, plus, she can't be tube-fed in a coma or she'll vomit and choke on it, so all she gets is IV glucose. That won't do her but for another day or two. Pray for a miracle.

The kids are a mess of tears. My son has sobbed at every reminder of her...Her toys, her bed, her dishes. The empty kitchen when we walk in the door...It is hard. I cry by myself when I can, but can't always be dry-eyed in front of the kids. I think it is good for them to see me cry some, though.
Thanks for the well-wishes. I am hoping for a miracle overnight. You are all wonderful here.

24th June 2008, 01:50 AM
I'm praying for a miracle for Pixie. My heart goes out to you and your family. God bless precious Pixie.

24th June 2008, 01:58 AM
**hugs** to your and your family over night and hope that things look brighter tomorrow.

24th June 2008, 04:17 AM
My heart and prayers are with you and your family. I am so sorry you are all going through this.....Bless you.

24th June 2008, 05:54 AM
Here is one more prayer for a miracle. She is so blessed to have such a loving, concerned and wonderful family who is willing to do EVERYTHING to help her! Best best best wishes from California :o

24th June 2008, 06:19 AM
Hello all.
I posted the update on Pixie in a new thread. here it is...

25th April 2009, 12:14 AM
omg Suzie I have never heard how your precious Pixie died. I of course knew you lost her at a very young age. I can't imagine this. It happened on my birthday no less. I am soooooooo so sorry. I never knew this dry drowning existed etc. Thank you for posting again the link for your story. We have a pool but our dogs don't have any desire to go in it thank goodness. It would be horrible now if they did after reading this. Again Suzie I am so sorry.

Reread it again and see it is "delayed drowning" and not dry drowning.


25th April 2009, 02:57 AM
Thanks Linda. It was the wonderful support of the members here that carried me through those first weeks. It was hard and still is hard. The kids and I loved her and we still miss her so much that I guess the pain will be with us always. When she died, the loss was more painful than 4 years ago when my husband of 13 years and father of my kids left suddenly for another woman. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her and feel sorrow that she isn't here. She would be only 21 months old if she were still alive. I can hardly believe she's been gone for 10 months. I look at Bandit and Lizzie and desperately hope that it is a VERY VERY LONG time before I tell either of them goodbye.

Juniors Daddy
25th April 2009, 01:40 PM
our thoughts are with you it just shows how carefull we all need to be with the littlesets things where u would`nt think anything could go wrong with