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Q&A: Why Did My Dog Die Suddenly After Vomiting?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

It may be worth spending a little extra money to find out why your dog passed away, for the health of your other dogs or for peace of mind.

It may be worth spending a little extra money to find out why your dog passed away, for the health of your other dogs or for peace of mind.

Why Did My Dog Die So Suddenly?

"My 14-year-old female mixed-breed dog started vomiting after a small meal and a little water. She continued to vomit about every hour, stopped eating anything, and drank little water. She continued to vomit light-green foam. She became lethargic and was wobbly when trying to stand.

I took her to an emergency vet clinic and we waited for hours in the car. She seemed a little better, and when the vet assistant took her vitals, they were normal so we went home. 4 hours later, she was sleeping so I took an hour-long bath. When I came out, she was on the floor breathing short, fast breaths with her eyes wide open. I rushed her back to the vet and she stopped breathing in my arms as we pulled into the hospital. The nurse grabbed her from the car after asking my permission.

Of course she was already gone. 24 hours prior, she was fine. The nurse told me most likely she had fluid around her heart? I don't understand how and why. Please can you give me some answers? Thank you." —Loriel

Causes of Fatal Vomiting in Dogs

I'm not sure why you had to wait so long. Sometimes there are not enough people working, and if there is an emergency surgery, the veterinarian may be busy and unable to attend your dog. Like with a human ER, however, sometimes we just have to wait.

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There are several causes of vomiting severe enough that it may cause a dog to die (for example, poisoning or a twisted stomach). I am sorry for your loss, but there is no way I can tell you what was wrong with your dog at this point. The only way to find that out would have been by having your dog autopsied.

Necropsies to Determine Cause of Death

A necropsy (an autopsy of a dog or cat) usually costs about $150–$200 in the US without additional lab work. (1) If your dog had heart disease or something similar, just a visual examination would be enough.

If the visual examination was not enough to figure out what was wrong (like suspected poisoning), they may need to do more laboratory tests but they would clear that with you before doing anything else. If the emergency clinic you went to is not able to do this, you may need to take her to a state university veterinary college.

That may seem like a lot to spend, but it may help you find out what was wrong. There may be something you need to avoid if you have other dogs, and if not, you would at least know why she died. My condolences for your loss.


(1) Engel, Danielle. "Necropsies Solve Mystery Of Animal Deaths - Veterinary Medicine At Illinois". Veterinary Medicine At Illinois, 2017,

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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