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Thread: 5 1/2 month old dying during neutering

  1. #1
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    Default 5 1/2 month old dying during neutering

    Hello all. This is my first post to cavaliertalk. I'm searching for some answers from veteran Cavalier owners. On December 26, my little baby, Cooper, passed away while being neutered. I am still in shock. I can't believe my sweet little boy is gone. He checked out perfectly fine at every vet visit. We even had blood work done, which wasn't even recommended on dogs younger than seven years old, to ensure he would tolerate the anesthesia, which came back perfect.
    The vet said Cooper did fantastic during the surgery, and was fine even when they removed the anesthesia and put him on oxygen. It is when they removed the oxygen that he said Cooper's breathing became very shallow, and immediately after his heart stopped. The vet said he did everything he could, giving copious amounts of atropine, mechanically breathing for him, CPR, even an epinephrine shot directly to his heart, but he couldn't bring him back.
    I am still stunned. The vet is blaming the breeder, and the breeder is blaming the vet, and I am just blaming myself. The vet said he had to have had an underlying heart condition that couldn't be detected. Our breeder says cav's are very sensitive to anesthesia and the vet must've given him more anesthesia than he needed.
    I just don't understand. My baby was so perfect, happy, and seemingly healthy before this. I didn't even want to get him fixed, it just seemed like the responsible thing to do for him.

    Please, someone, has anyone heard of or encountered this? I know I will never truly know the cause, but I'm just heartbroken. I hope someone out there can shed some light on this for me.
    Mommy to Leo & Max.
    Born 10.05.2013, Adopted 01.10.2014

    Mommy to Cooper Tobias - Waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge.
    Born 07.20.2013, Rainbow Bridge 12.26.2013

  2. #2
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    I am so sorry to read your post....its tragic, just tragic...
    I have no answer for you and maybe you'll never know....someone here may have answers for you....I just wanted to say Im thinking of you......please don't blame yourself, you could not have foreseen this.

    Take care

    XXXX
    Mel
    Momma to Leonardo (Leo to his friends)

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  4. #3
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    How terrible for you! I have no information that can help you understand how something like this can happen to a healthy puppy. It is not your fault in any way....you did what was best for him......

    Take care
    Joyce - Proudly owned & loved by

    BellaMia (Aug. 30, 2012) My Beautiful Ruby Milo (Jan. 20, 2014) My Handsome Tri
    Sydney (
    April 16, 2000~April 4, 2012) Always and Forever In My Heart

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  6. #4
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    Thank you. I'm just so heartbroken. I know I'll never really know what happened. I just wish someone out there has heard of this type of thing before.
    Mommy to Leo & Max.
    Born 10.05.2013, Adopted 01.10.2014

    Mommy to Cooper Tobias - Waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge.
    Born 07.20.2013, Rainbow Bridge 12.26.2013

  7. #5
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    I am so sorry for your loss.
    I have no information to offer.. i havn't heard of this before.
    the only thing that comes to mind..is as with human surgery...there can be complications even with the smallest of surgeries. Even when the doctors and vets do everything right.

    have you heard about the little girl who is now brain dead after tonisl surgery? (cnn.com it if you want)

    Ive done a quick google search, and have found simliar cases.
    http://www.dobermantalk.com/non-dobe...ter-today.html here is one such case that sounds simliar.


    I can't imagine what you're goingn through. sending you lots of love.
    Oliver and Max and Meeko man, i will meet you at the Rainbow bridge. I love you all. Miss you more then you'll ever know.
    wait for me...
    Chelsea

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  9. #6
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    So shocked and surprised to read this. I'm not at all surprised that you are absolutely devastated and looking for the answers that may never be found.

    Except from expressing heartfelt sympathy for your loss, apart from the possibility your vet mentioned of an underlying heart defect being to blame, I have had a young and healthy Cavalier bitch who needed an antidote while under anesthetic because ACP was being used and in common with quite a few Cavaliers she proved allergic to it. Of course I do not know, but I wonder whether something similar happened to your puppy?
    Warmest wishes
    Flo & the ByFloSin Cavaliers
    Rebel, Winston Alexander,Little Joe & Holly Poppet
    Birmingham, UK

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  11. #7
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    Melissa,
    The breeder is very upset as well. In our puppy contract, it states that we had to have an autopsy (or necrospy) done. To be honest, it doesn't make much sense, but as upset as I am, I didn't want to go through with that because of the pain. I felt and still feel like it won't bring Cooper back. She didn't ask me to have it done and is still offering another puppy at no cost to us, which I think is a sign of being truly caring and concerned. However, in retrospect, I thought I was doing the correct research, but having this be my first puppy and experience, I see all the holes I didn't get filled.
    She states that she is concerned for the health and gets all dogs checked out by her veterinarian, however I have not seen any papers myself on cargiology or MRI results for the parents. I am ashamed to say now... I never even saw Cooper's parents. I am very ashamed to say that. I suppose all I can say is that it was love at first sight, and I didn't care where he came from or what he was, I just wanted him. The moment I saw him.
    I guess that's also why I am feeling so responsible for his death.
    The vet graduated in 2007, but I really liked the way he was with Cooper every time we had an appointment. He really took his time with us, answered every question I had, and always listened to his heart for at least a full minute during physicals.

    I've done some research on MVD, and I'm worried Cooper may have shown signs of it the last week or so without me realizing it. He would run and play with my sisters dog, and start panting very hard. Then, he would lay down and his respirations would be very fast. I put him in his kennel upon noticing this and his breathing calmed to normal, which I thought was just him being a puppy and playing hard. Also, from the day we got him, he would drink water like there was no tomorrow. I could fill three bowls of water and he would drink them up, waiting for more. I was always so careful about making sure he got enough water without over-hydrating.

    I truly don't know. I feel like there is so much I've done wrong. I'm also scared to take this future puppy from the breeder, to be honest. As good as she's been to us, and as upset and concerned as she is, I'm worried about not seeing her breeding stock on her website. I'm also worried about not seeing these vet papers online. There's just so much I've learned in hindsight, and a lot I knew at the time, but didn't care because Cooper was my baby, from the moment I saw him.

    Thank you all for taking so much time to talk with me and offer advice. It means more than you know.
    Mommy to Leo & Max.
    Born 10.05.2013, Adopted 01.10.2014

    Mommy to Cooper Tobias - Waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge.
    Born 07.20.2013, Rainbow Bridge 12.26.2013

  12. #8
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    Again I am so sorry for your lose. Personally, a necrospy would have hopeful provided very useful information as to what happened. There may have been no real answer to be found. However, I cannot questions your choices during this difficult time. I totally understand why you might not want another puppy from this breeder as nice as she is. If it were me I would ask my money back rather than another puppy. I am sure you incured vet bills this could cover that. What if some or all of her breeding dogs are effected by some type of heart problem. Even some simply not cavaleir specific birth defect. I won't worry about now seeing her breeding dogs online or vet reports (some really really good breeders don't even have websites at all) however didn't you go visit the breeder before purchasing your puppy? To me handing a prospective adpoter a cute little puppy who is available at first meeting while chatting about contracts or breed health is just a ploy to get you to buy with your heart. THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT IN ANY WAY! These what I call "cut courners/for profit breeders" are wonderful sales people. I also understand you may not be ready for another cavaleir OR dog again now or for some people never.

    Take your time allow yourself to mourn Copper. If after a time you since think a cavalier would make the perfect dog for you then start again with learning everything you can about cavalier health and issues. I personally spend almost a year reading everything I could find and joined CT to ask questions. You do not have to own a cavaleir to hang out on CT, we welcome anyone.
    Melissa
    "If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life."
    -Roger Caras

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  14. #9
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    What a horrible nightmare you have been through - and are still going through. It is impossible not to think of all the things you could have done, should have done, but at some point you have to let all that go. My youngest was diagnosed with a heart murmur at 4 months of age by a very astute general vet. My little guy had an episode of Falling Episode Syndrome and because the vet was really looking for something, he heard the murmur. The cardiologist we were referred to even said kudos to the vet for hearing it because it is so soft and quiet. He still has the murmur and it hasn't changed since then. This story is just meant to illustrate that maybe Cooper had something congenitally similar going on that a general vet wouldn't pick up. If you decide to take another puppy from the same breeder, be sure to ask to see health certificates (MRI, cardio, etc) and do not take a puppy from the same parents just in case there was a congenital problem. I'm so sorry. I can't imagine what you're going through. My heart aches for you.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

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  16. #10
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    We had the same thing happen with a German Shepherd dog. Ellie was about 9 mos old. Vet said heart gave out. This dog was purchased from one of the US most well known breeder and flown to us from Texas to Philadelphia. We had a lot of money tied up in this dog and I had taken her to three obedience classes in hopes to show AKC obedience.

    I honestly believe the vet gave her too much anesthetic. She too was happy and healthy prior to the surgery. No way to prove it and it sure makes you nervous when your dog has to be under for surgery after that.

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