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We lost our beloved Cooper a couple weeks ago. The reason for his death is still a bit of a mystery. We opted not to do an autopsy out of respect for his remains. Still, I am haunted by his passing and the unanswered questions. I am hoping to gain some insights by posting what happened here.

Cooper was 9-1/2. He was incredibly friendly and outgoing and loved by all. We noticed in the past 9 to 12 months that he had begun to slow down. If we stopped to talk with people on our walks, he would lie down and rest. He began to have trouble going up the steep stairs of the cabin on our boat, and jumping from the swim platform to the dock. We assumed he had joint issues and got a ramp. Always a strong swimmer, he began to take longer breaks between laps.

Nonetheless, he was incredibly energetic and excited to do the things he loved – going for boat rides, swimming, walking, visiting.

Toward the end, we noticed him panting more and showing less interest in his meals. He had to be coaxed to get up to eat, and he would leave a few kibble in the bowl. He sought out cool places, like lying next to or over the AC vents. At the same time, he would go out and lay in the hot summer sun. Still, he did not seem like a sick dog.

We swam Cooper and his sister every week at a wonderful indoor doggie pool. The last day of his life, he ran up the ramp to the pool with his usual enthusiasm, retrieved his toy once and collapsed at our feet. He lay there quite some time, his breathing labored. He got up and walked with difficulty down the ramp, then collapsed again. He was in distress in the car on the way to the vet, breathing with difficulty. He was deemed critical when we arrived at the vet and died shortly thereafter from cardiac arrest. The vet told us he exhibited heart symptoms, but also had neurological signs (nystagmus). She said it could have been an underlying heart issue, but also could have been an undetected cancer that had metastasized. She mentioned hemangiosarcoma. But it was the suddenness of his death that made it puzzling.

We were initially concerned that he died from a grain-free diet-related dilated cardiomyopathy. However, our female has normal taurine levels, and her heart x-ray was normal. (We now have her on a diet with grain.)

If anyone has had experience with a dog showing these signs and symptoms, or that died suddenly like this, I hope you’ll reach out. I would like to put the pieces together and come to a conclusion, at least in my own mind.
 

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We lost our beloved Cooper a couple weeks ago. The reason for his death is still a bit of a mystery. We opted not to do an autopsy out of respect for his remains. Still, I am haunted by his passing and the unanswered questions. I am hoping to gain some insights by posting what happened here.

Cooper was 9-1/2. He was incredibly friendly and outgoing and loved by all. We noticed in the past 9 to 12 months that he had begun to slow down. If we stopped to talk with people on our walks, he would lie down and rest. He began to have trouble going up the steep stairs of the cabin on our boat, and jumping from the swim platform to the dock. We assumed he had joint issues and got a ramp. Always a strong swimmer, he began to take longer breaks between laps.

Nonetheless, he was incredibly energetic and excited to do the things he loved – going for boat rides, swimming, walking, visiting.

Toward the end, we noticed him panting more and showing less interest in his meals. He had to be coaxed to get up to eat, and he would leave a few kibble in the bowl. He sought out cool places, like lying next to or over the AC vents. At the same time, he would go out and lay in the hot summer sun. Still, he did not seem like a sick dog.

We swam Cooper and his sister every week at a wonderful indoor doggie pool. The last day of his life, he ran up the ramp to the pool with his usual enthusiasm, retrieved his toy once and collapsed at our feet. He lay there quite some time, his breathing labored. He got up and walked with difficulty down the ramp, then collapsed again. He was in distress in the car on the way to the vet, breathing with difficulty. He was deemed critical when we arrived at the vet and died shortly thereafter from cardiac arrest. The vet told us he exhibited heart symptoms, but also had neurological signs (nystagmus). She said it could have been an underlying heart issue, but also could have been an undetected cancer that had metastasized. She mentioned hemangiosarcoma. But it was the suddenness of his death that made it puzzling.

We were initially concerned that he died from a grain-free diet-related dilated cardiomyopathy. However, our female has normal taurine levels, and her heart x-ray was normal. (We now have her on a diet with grain.)

If anyone has had experience with a dog showing these signs and symptoms, or that died suddenly like this, I hope you’ll reach out. I would like to put the pieces together and come to a conclusion, at least in my own mind.
I'm so sorry this happened. Unfortunately, without a necropsy, anything said here is only speculation.

Causes of sudden death can include cardiac hemangiosarcoma, untreated dilated cardiomyopathy, aneurysm, etc.

Given how you detail his health history, I would suspect either cancer or an undetected heart disease.

I hope someone here can put your minds at ease, it sounds like Cooper had a wonderful life.
 

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My dog died of cancer in December. Her symptoms showed over a period of a week and we had to put her down due to the severity of them. She was unable to stand, severe vomiting and was just no longer "there" on the day we chose to put her down

I was away for Thanksgiving and I left a healthy dog. I came home to a dog who was no longer my amazing dog but a very sick dog. My husband promised me the days before were not as bad.
Going downhill for a whole year makes me think it was hear related
 

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I'm so sorry this happened. Unfortunately, without a necropsy, anything said here is only speculation.

Causes of sudden death can include cardiac hemangiosarcoma, untreated dilated cardiomyopathy, aneurysm, etc.

Given how you detail his health history, I would suspect either cancer or an undetected heart disease.

I hope someone here can put your minds at ease, it sounds like Cooper had a wonderful life.
 

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Going downhill over a year certainly sounds heart related.
The fact that your female's taurine was normal doesn't mean anything. Different dogs seem to have different responses to grain free foods. Or, he could have had an underlying heart issue that you knew nothing about, completely unrelated to diet.
Without a necropsy, there's no way to know. However, usually cardiac hemangiosarcoma is a much more sudden onset.
Run free sweet boy. Another one gone too soon.
 

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I'm so very sorry for the loss of your sweet Cooper, would you like me to add his name to The Rainbow Bridge List?.
 

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We lost our beloved Cooper a couple weeks ago. The reason for his death is still a bit of a mystery. We opted not to do an autopsy out of respect for his remains. Still, I am haunted by his passing and the unanswered questions. I am hoping to gain some insights by posting what happened here.

Cooper was 9-1/2. He was incredibly friendly and outgoing and loved by all. We noticed in the past 9 to 12 months that he had begun to slow down. If we stopped to talk with people on our walks, he would lie down and rest. He began to have trouble going up the steep stairs of the cabin on our boat, and jumping from the swim platform to the dock. We assumed he had joint issues and got a ramp. Always a strong swimmer, he began to take longer breaks between laps.

Nonetheless, he was incredibly energetic and excited to do the things he loved – going for boat rides, swimming, walking, visiting.

Toward the end, we noticed him panting more and showing less interest in his meals. He had to be coaxed to get up to eat, and he would leave a few kibble in the bowl. He sought out cool places, like lying next to or over the AC vents. At the same time, he would go out and lay in the hot summer sun. Still, he did not seem like a sick dog.

We swam Cooper and his sister every week at a wonderful indoor doggie pool. The last day of his life, he ran up the ramp to the pool with his usual enthusiasm, retrieved his toy once and collapsed at our feet. He lay there quite some time, his breathing labored. He got up and walked with difficulty down the ramp, then collapsed again. He was in distress in the car on the way to the vet, breathing with difficulty. He was deemed critical when we arrived at the vet and died shortly thereafter from cardiac arrest. The vet told us he exhibited heart symptoms, but also had neurological signs (nystagmus). She said it could have been an underlying heart issue, but also could have been an undetected cancer that had metastasized. She mentioned hemangiosarcoma. But it was the suddenness of his death that made it puzzling.

We were initially concerned that he died from a grain-free diet-related dilated cardiomyopathy. However, our female has normal taurine levels, and her heart x-ray was normal. (We now have her on a diet with grain.)

If anyone has had experience with a dog showing these signs and symptoms, or that died suddenly like this, I hope you’ll reach out. I would like to put the pieces together and come to a conclusion, at least in my own mind.
I feel your pain. Our Max passed last February at age 9 years, 7 months. Max was a big boy, and a certified therapy dog. Like your Cooper, Max had slowed down over the prior several months, but still showed signs of his old self. He was sleeping more, and had less energy. About a week before he died, he was in the backyard and would not get get up. I showed him the leash, and he managed to stand and walk in the house. He would not eat, which was very "not Max." A couple days later, he had a burst of energy and seemed better, but a couple days later, he was sick again. We took him to the vet, and his blood work was way off. The vet suspected cancer. We took him home and he passed the next day. Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are prone to get cancer, and often die suddenly. There are no satisfactory answers. Our two previous Goldens lived to be 14 years old, but we knew that because Max was so big, he might not live as long. We miss Max and will never get over his passing. Several years prior, we changed Max from grain free to a conventional diet. I would not blame Cooper's diet, but rather blame cancer--very likely hemangiosarcoma. Fortunately, we adopted a cousin of Max named Rocky about 3 years ago, and have him still. There was nothing you could have done--the cancer took your boy, like it has done to many other Golden Retrievers. I am very sorry for your loss.
 

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Going downhill over a year certainly sounds heart related.
The fact that your female's taurine was normal doesn't mean anything. Different dogs seem to have different responses to grain free foods. Or, he could have had an underlying heart issue that you knew nothing about, completely unrelated to diet.
Without a necropsy, there's no way to know. However, usually cardiac hemangiosarcoma is a much more sudden onset.
Run free sweet boy. Another one gone too soon.

Yes, cardiac hemangiosarcoma is much more sudden. :(
 

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Yes, cardiac hemangiosarcoma is much more sudden. :(
It was pretty sudden, even if he was slowing down for some time. He was full of energy on the day of his death and just before he collapsed. The thing that makes me think cancer ia the neurological signs (nystagmus). This is why the vet floated the possibility of hemangiosarcoma.
 

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It was pretty sudden, even if he was slowing down for some time. He was full of energy on the day of his death and just before he collapsed. The thing that makes me think cancer ia the neurological signs (nystagmus). This is why the vet floated the possibility of hemangiosarcoma.
I've lost a couple dogs to this disease. The last one was a little over two years ago. He was six years old, and boarded along with our other two dogs, at a place we have gone to for many years, and still use. We had just boarded a cruise, got a frantic message he had collapsed, and was at the ER vet but was stable.
Two hours he went into cardiac arrest and died. I still feel guilty that he died with strangers. And still wonder if I missed something. But thinking back, there really was no clues, he was fine in the morning and gone by midnight.
It is an absolutely awful disease.
 
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So sorry for your loss. We tried a grain-free diet for a while, but read mixed reviews online, so we switched to a limited ingredients diet. Our current golden is now 12 and has hip issues, a collapsed trachea, and ongoing skin itchiness. So, we do our best.

Our previous golden had a type of skin cancer and we lost her at 8 years. We found out then that cancer runs in the line (back to dogs from the Gold-Rush kennels in NJ).

Our current dog is from the European lines, which have less cancer, but you never know what condition might come out in a line.

We’ve been lucky that we’ve had 2 great goldens, and they both have known that they were/are loved. It’s very sad when one gets ill unexpectedly. Our hearts go out to you! All the best.
 

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I am sorry for you loss....I lost two of my Golden's last year. One was very sudden, it was hard! I read something that helped a bit, I will share with you...

Inside Your Heart
When tomorrow starts without me,

Don’t think we’re far apart.

For everytime you think of me,

I’m right here inside your heart.
 

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So sorry for the loss of Cooper.
We had a terrible loss of a very special amazing Golden, who had severe side effects from the vaccines that caused severe health issues thru the years.
A retired vet with Goldens had told me that Goldens are way too sensitive to the toxins in vaccines, many side effects of vaccines do cause cancer.
Back in the 60's, Big dogs and Goldens lived long healthy lives to an average age of 17 because very few to no vaccines, today over vaccinated large breed dogs average age is now 8 years old.
Many young dogs now have allergies, damage caused by toxins, and numerous long list of health issues that were not an issue before the big push to increase vaccine sales.
Allergies is a sign that the dog's immune system is having problems and the animal is not fully healthy.
A neighbors Golden puppy was healthy, now they over vaccinated repeat vaccines and at 10 months, the Golden puppy has cancer already. They wish they never had vaccinated as they are
now learning about the dangers of the toxins.
Here are some helpful informational links for more info...
DogsNaturallyMagazine .com in print or online
VitalAnimal .com Dr Will Falconer
DoctorDeva .com Dr Deva Khalsa
TheTruthAboutVaccines .com
Sign up for their free enewsletters too.
Nothing worse then loosing our furry family members. It is devastating.
 

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I feel your pain. Our Max passed last February at age 9 years, 7 months. Max was a big boy, and a certified therapy dog. Like your Cooper, Max had slowed down over the prior several months, but still showed signs of his old self. He was sleeping more, and had less energy. About a week before he died, he was in the backyard and would not get get up. I showed him the leash, and he managed to stand and walk in the house. He would not eat, which was very "not Max." A couple days later, he had a burst of energy and seemed better, but a couple days later, he was sick again. We took him to the vet, and his blood work was way off. The vet suspected cancer. We took him home and he passed the next day. Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are prone to get cancer, and often die suddenly. There are no satisfactory answers. Our two previous Goldens lived to be 14 years old, but we knew that because Max was so big, he might not live as long. We miss Max and will never get over his passing. Several years prior, we changed Max from grain free to a conventional diet. I would not blame Cooper's diet, but rather blame cancer--very likely hemangiosarcoma. Fortunately, we adopted a cousin of Max named Rocky about 3 years ago, and have him still. There was nothing you could have done--the cancer took your boy, like it has done to many other Golden Retrievers. I am very sorry for your loss.
Thank you for sharing your story and your very kind comments. My gut tells me it was cancer, as you suspect. Our Golden before Cooper died from hemangiosarcoma, as well (different bloodline entirely).
 
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