Sudden Death of Healthy Chihuahua

by Meghan
(Cape Coral FL USA)

Last week my family's healthy 5 yr old male neutered Chihuahua was found lying underneath the garbage can in our back yard. He was lethargic-weak and had pale gums. His mouth and paws were covered in a rope like drool. His respiratory rate was low and was bradycardic but there were no visible signs of trauma. We took him to an emergency room and within 25 minutes he passed.

His temperature was 94.2 when taken at the hospital. I could tell by looking at him he was in shock. Seems like nothing could be done. It was 9:30 in the evening and he was let out with the other small dogs as part of the regular routine. He was completely healthy.

Our Veterinarian recently detected a very slight murmur over the past winter. Now we are in shock..we aren't sure if it was a bite or poison or a what could have caused this sudden death?
It could be a specific defect....impossible to know for sure. But any ideas would be helpful.

Thank you.

Thoughts From Our Vet on Sudden Dog Death in Healthy Animal

Hello Meghan,

I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your dog, particularly under such traumatic conditions. I’m afraid that you are right, the only way to know with certainty what happened to him is to have had a necropsy (the animal equivalent of an autopsy) performed. I suspect that opportunity is no longer available.

There are not too many things that cause sudden death in what appears to be an otherwise healthy dog. Poisoning is one, but certainly not the only, possibility. Others include heart disease (especially those types that cause abnormal heart rhythms), blood clots, brain lesions (e.g., tumors), adrenal failure, internal bleeding (e.g., from a ruptured mass or aneurism), electrocution, and trauma.

My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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Mar 22, 2017
sudden death NEW
by: Anonymous

So very sorry for your loss. our darling wee chihuahua girl died in similar circumstances too. one moment she was fine then i returned to the living room to find her collapsed virtually comatose and breathing noisily. She died several hours later and the vets couldn't explain why- her glucose was high and some heart enlargement but they still weren't sure. it was one of the most terrible terrible losses..iloved her like a wee child.

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