• Would anyone have any ideas as to what on earth could cause a happy, energetic 9 month old chocolate lab to suddenly die?

    A friend of ours was so happy bringing Cocoa over for romps with Duke, Daisy and Homer. The furkids were playing Saturday evening. Sunday afternoon, while owner was at work, his mom called him and said Cocoa was not moving! He was dead . . . 😕

    It would cost $600 to autopsy him - so that isn't going to happen.


  • @Duke:

    Would anyone have any ideas as to what on earth could cause a happy, energetic 9 month old chocolate lab to suddenly die?

    A friend of ours was so happy bringing Cocoa over for romps with Duke, Daisy and Homer. The furkids were playing Saturday evening. Sunday afternoon, while owner was at work, his mom called him and said Cocoa was not moving! He was dead . . . 😕

    It would cost $600 to autopsy him - so that isn't going to happen.

    How sad, but it could be many, many things.. without an autopsy there is no way of knowing… only speculation...


  • I figured speculation would be all there is. He bought Cocoa from a breeder he'd met at the Pet Expo here. I suggested he contact the breeder. I'm sure they'd want to know. They would be more familiar with the pups disposition - I would guess.

    He is very broken hearted right now as all who knew how wonderful Cocoa was.


  • OMG I can't even imagine what the family is going thrugh. My prayers and thought go out to them. This is a tragedy for any family to deal with especially when it's so sudden.


  • Could be poisoning – the pup may have gotten into something in the home/yard, an annoyed neighbor {if the pup was a barker, etc} may have dropped something into the yard.

    Really, for it to be quite that fast, it doesn't sound like an illness to me.

    Poor little guy. I can't imagine.


  • That is really sad….I would guess heart if it came on suddenly. I don't know if cardiac issues are a problem with labs, but I know in our area at least, it can be a problem with Goldens. One time another trainer had a puppy keel over and die in the middle of class...very sad.


  • We had a chocolate lab once & same thing happened. It was heart, I think he was about 7 or 8 months.


  • I'm so sorry for Cocoa and his friends and family. How sad. I only know of something called "exercise induced collapse" in labrador retrievers, but it's not fatal. It does seem to be something like stroke, heart attack or poisoning. I'm sure contacting the breeder is a good thing to do…not that the loss is going to be any less painful, but maybe they'll get another puppy from them.
    Keep us posted if anything is discovered.


  • @jys1011:

    We had a chocolate lab once & same thing happened. It was heart, I think he was about 7 or 8 months.

    Oh . . . I'm so sorry! I'm sure it was devastating for you as it is for our friend. How did you find out it was his heart? Do you think it had anything to do with nala's theory for "exercise induced collapse" of sorts?

    I haven't heard of this happening to labs or any breed for that matter. There was no sign that Cocoa was having any health problems. I would think if he was poisoned, there would be physical signs of distress.


  • Oh it was awful since we had just lost our Black Lab after 12 yrs. Unfortunately my parents got him from a petstore so the little guy was running around after a bird in the yard & he must have caught it because all we found was collapsed puppy & dead bird nearby. The vet said his heart gave out but I can't remember what else since it was about 10yrs ago.

    Then my brother decided he didn't want labs anymore & my parents got him a weimeraner.


  • Ironically, this article was emailed to me by another resource. I wonder if it had anything to do with Cocoa's death since the family lives on Walled Lake and Cocoa played fetch often in the lake. . .

    Cross posting from MIDogs, with permission. Denise

    On Monday, June 25, 2007 I took my healthy 9 month old Border Collie
    Vita swimming at approximately 6:30 p.m. Vita and two other BC's spent
    about an hour and a half diving off the dock, chasing the Water Kong,
    and running around. The temperature that day was just over 90
    degrees, but none of the dogs looked particularly winded or hot.

    Vita emerged from the water and looked as if she was going to vomit.
    She threw up lake water three times. I wasn't't particularly
    concerned as she took in a lot of water from retrieving and swimming
    so much and had seen other dogs do that in the past without
    complications.

    After the third time throwing up, she lay down and closed her eyes.
    Her tongue was hanging out of her mouth and I began to suspect she
    may have heat stroke. I immediately placed ice on her stomach and
    checked her gums. They were pink. I took her temperature whi ch was
    101.9, still normal. I then called my Vet who said these conditions
    did not indicate heat stroke and said I needed to get emergency
    medical attention right away.

    Vita was not responsive and when I picked her up to put her in the
    car she was limp and her eyes were still closed. Her breathing was
    slow and her heart was racing. I arrived at the emergency clinic only
    a half hour from the time
    she showed signs of distress. The ER Vet asked me what sorts of
    things Vita had been doing all day. I explained that she was crated
    as I was gone for the latter part of the afternoon and that upon
    coming home, the only other place she went was to the lake.

    Vita's eyes were fixed and dilated and the Vet suggested there was
    already brain damage. After administering an IV and oxygen, the Vet
    called me in and said Vita was not responding and that it appeared
    that she was suffering from some kind of toxic poisoning. H er heart
    rate was 200. He mentioned that he had recently seen a couple of dogs
    who died from Blue Green Algae Toxicity. I told him that the lake had
    what appeared to be algae blooms on the surface of the water. Neither
    of the other two dogs showed any of the signs that Vita had and that
    neither dog took in as much water as Vita apparently did. We
    decided to put her on a ventilator overnight and give her a "chance"
    to pull through.

    When I got home I did a Dogpile.com search of "Blue Green Algae
    Toxicity in Dogs" and found some very disturbing information.

    -Blooms can occur at any time, but most often occur in late summer or
    early fall. They can occur in marine, estuarine, and fresh waters,
    but the blooms of greatest concern are the ones that occur in fresh
    water, such as drinking water reservoirs or recreational waters.

    -Some cyanobacterial blooms can look like foam, scum, or mats on the
    surface of fresh water lakes and ponds. The blooms can be blue,
    bright green, brown, or red and may look like paint floating on the
    water. Some blooms may not affect the appearance of the water. As
    algae in a cyanobacterial bloom die, the water may smell bad.

    -Some cyanobacteria that can form CyanoHABs (Harmful Algal Blooms)
    produce toxins that are among the most powerful natural poisons
    known. These toxins have no known antidotes.

    -Swallowing water that has cyanobacterial toxins in it can cause
    acute, severe gastroenteritis (including diarrhea and vomiting).

    -Liver toxicity (i.e., increased serum levels of liver enzymes).
    Symptoms of liver poisoning may takes hours or days to show up in
    people or animals. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and
    vomiting.

    -Kidney toxicity.

    -Neurotoxicity. These symptoms can appear within 15 to 20 m inutes
    after exposure. In dogs, the neurotoxins can cause salivation and
    other neurologic symptoms, including weakness, staggering, difficulty
    breathing, convulsions, and death. People may have numb lips,
    tingling fingers and toes, or they may feel dizzy.

    Vita had indeed exhibited salivation and signs of weakness,
    staggering, difficulty breathing and vomiting.

    At 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 I called the Vet and was told
    that they took Vita off the ventilator a couple of times during the
    night and that she was not breathing on her own. I told him to
    discontinue the procedure and to let her go.

    I called the DNR here in Michigan and was told that Blue Green Algae
    didn't usually appear this time of year and I told the agent that the
    conditions were that of late summer in Michigan, very hot for the
    last two days and reminded him that Blue Green Algae can appear at
    any time. He told me not to panic or to alarm other people. I told
    him that had someone else panicked, we wouldn't be having this
    conversation right now.

    Later that morning I found out from a neighbor that her two young
    boys had vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps last week and her
    Doctor suggested she bring in a water sample. I do not know if she
    did or not.

    I also talked to a woman from a neighboring county whose neighbor's
    dog ingested a lot of water from a pond and died suddenly a couple
    weeks ago.

    As of this writing, Wednesday, June 27th, I have not heard anything
    from Michigan State where I took Vita for a necropsy and
    toxicological panel.

    For the time being, I would strongly suggest you watch your dogs when
    swimming in small lakes and ponds as the potential threat of toxic
    poisoning from Blue Green Algae is prevalent. Had I known that algae
    of any kind was toxic, you can be sure my dogs wouldn't be swimming
    anywhere and that Vita, whose name quite ironically meant "life" in
    Latin, would be alive today.

    Missing you more than you can imagine.
    May you rest in peace, Red Top Vita
    09/05/06 - 06/26/07

    Bob Tatus
    5997 Mabley Hill Road
    Fenton, Michigan 48430

    PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST


  • Last year two dogs died and one got very ill at a local park after drinking some water from the lake. The deaths were almost immediate.

    Of course, the lake was immediately placed off limits to everyone. Testing showed very high levels of algae; other local lakes were tested and some were shut down.
    I know that earlier this year a few of them were still not open for use.

    It scary, isn't it, how quickly this can happen, and how "normal" the water will appear.


  • I forgot about that! There was a bay here in Lake Champlain that had that and they were warning dog owners about it. How sad.

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