View Full Version : Please can someone help me understand Sam's final hours? x

22nd January 2012, 07:17 PM
My lovely boy Sam was put to sleep on Friday evening.

I would like to try and understand what was happening to him at the end....has anyone had a similar situation please? I would particularly like to know why he was coughing up bright red blood.

Sam would have been 14 this year. Heart problems were identified by a cardiologist in 2007 and he ended up taking Vetmedin, Frusimide, Prilactone & Fortocur. He slowed down but seemed comfortable until about September 2011 when he started having bad diorrohea (forgive my spelling). One one occasion there was a lot of blood and mucus. We got through it and I fed him a more bland diet. The Vet said it was colitus, but I think maybe it was linked to his heart.

By September, I could hear his heart when he sat next to me. He was never one for heavily panting but I could tell his heart rate was fast.

There were more flare ups of the diorrhea and he was loosing weight. I could really feel his spine and his heart must have enlarged because the top half of his torso looked very big from above. He must have been in CHF and I think that the average expectancy is only 6 months from here. He stood with his front legs bowing right out. He stayed more in his bed but was still affectionate and loved a cuddle. He had some great days and some tired days. He started to sleep downstairs and there was an accident every night. He was pooing much more, like he just couldn't keep the food in. Was his digestive system closing down?:|

This Thursday just gone, the diorrehea returned and his appetite went. He was unstable on his feet. By Friday I couldn't even see that he was drinking much. I went into the Vets and she said that his tongue was blueish that meant lack of oxygen. She thought that I should put him to sleep. She gave him a pain relief injection. I took him home - I wanted to see if I could turn it round. I had before. He lay in his bed and looked more floppy than usual. Was this just through lack of food/water or was it the end?

He started to vomit a think white mucus foam. This was thicker than I'd ever seen before. A while later he coughed up bright red frothy blood that looked like it had bits of skin in it (more solid than mucus). This had never happened before and I felt I had to take him back the the Vets. I could see his body visably moving with his beating heart. I thought that the symptoms were more than not eating and drinking.

I felt I had to let him go and held him as my tears fell onto his fur. I miss him so so much. He is part of me.

Please can you tell me what the blood meant? Was he dying? I suppose what I am asking is, could I have done anything more? Could he have been here a few more weeks or does the coughing up of blood signify something else with CHF?
I know this is part of the grief process, but I would really like to understand what was going on. Thanks x x

Kate H
22nd January 2012, 07:52 PM
Dear Kitty

I'm so sorry for your loss - I'm never sure which is worse, to lose a young dog and regret all the missed years. or to lose an old dog and feel as if a part of your life has been torn away. Either way, it hurts, and many of us on this forum have been through it and understand how you feel.:hug:

I can't help with the blood, though I'm sure someone will be able to, but the rest of Sam's last days sounds like typical congestive heart failure. The heart just hasn't the strength to keep going, so even lowering the head a little to eat or drink is too much of an effort, or pumping blood around the body to provide oxygen to the lungs and strength to the back legs, and all the rest. It sounds to me as if you did exactly the right thing in giving Sam release from his failing body - it isn't fair to try and keep them going when the heart has got to that stage.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

22nd January 2012, 08:01 PM
I echo Kate's words and thoughts.

I'd add that yes: all these things, including diarrhea, are or can be common with final stages of MVD and CHF.


I would guess he was coughing up blood because he had severe pulmonary edema:

Also, the overload of blood in the left atrium creates increased pressure back into the pulmonary veins, which drain into the left atrium from the lungs. When a critical pressure is reached, flooding of the lungs can occur, with pulmonary edema.

You were doing the best that you could for him with hid meds til the end, but a point comes when they are struggling and the kindness we can give them is to let them go gently. :flwr:

22nd January 2012, 08:46 PM
So sorry to hear about poor Sam - he was lucky to have such a caring guardian, you did everything you could for him.

I think Karlin is probably right, but it could also have been an ulcer perhaps caused by all the medication [this happened with one of mine with MVD too]

I know it's hard but try to forget those last few horrid days - you will probably never really know what was going on and you will only torture yourself with it all :(

Concentrate on all the happy memories of Sam that you have instead.

Many of us have been through this too many times, Cavaliers truly do break your heart when they leave you :(

Brian M
22nd January 2012, 08:54 PM

I am so so sorry for you ,all our kindest thoughts go to you ,keep his memory
next to your heart .:(

23rd January 2012, 05:37 AM
I'm so sorry for your loss. You did all you could for Sam and helped him reach a good age. Thinking of you at this sad time.xxx

23rd January 2012, 10:27 AM
You did everything you could and letting him go must have been so very difficult... it was his time though, and 14 years is amazing for a cavalier. He had a lovely life with you.:lotsaluv:

23rd January 2012, 05:37 PM
Hi Kitty,

Iam so sorry for your loss , I know you are desperately looking for answers and reasons for why you lost him its a normal step in the grieving process , 14 years old is a great age for a cavalier and you gave him the best right until the end , that will hopefully give you some peace.

I lost my dog Scooby to MVD last october and he would have been 10 years old last week , like you I had to find answers to know whether I did the right thing at the right time but I accepted it was his time and I made the last decision for him at the right time.

I hope you can find closure.

Sharon X

23rd January 2012, 06:12 PM
I agree that this is all part of the grieving process.

2nd February 2012, 03:59 AM
I'm so sorry for your loss. I know, that every time I've had to make that hard decision, I always end up second guessing myself. You want to do the best by them, but it's beyond hard saying goodbye.

Please don't question yourself, you did everything you could for your sweet dog. Thinking of, and saying a prayer for you.

2nd February 2012, 12:18 PM
So sorry you lost your darling Sam. I am sure you did your very best for him xx