The unexpected loss of your dog is very painful especially because there is nothing that prepares you for it.
It just happens with no warning signs or sometimes without a history of a current existing ailment.
Understanding what happened, the how, and why helps us to have closure from our loss.
In this article, we will learn the causes of sudden death, what to do when your dog suddenly dies, and a future precaution on how to protect your dog from common causes of sudden death.
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Why Did My Cane Corso Suddenly Die?
A Cane Corso may suddenly die because of a cardiac disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy or because of Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, a complication of bloat, which is a common life-threatening Cane Corso health condition. Other causes of the unexpected sudden death of Cani Corsi include underlying trauma and poisoning.
A Cane Corso has a lifespan of 9 to 12 years, however, despite this, a Cane Corso may suddenly collapse and die without showing any signs or symptoms of illness or existing disease.
Causes of Cane Corso sudden death
Let’s take a deeper look into the causes of the sudden death of Cani Corsi to understand more how they affect a dog and lead to their death.
Gastrointestinal condition: Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat)
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) is a gastrointestinal condition that is life-threatening to a Cane Corso.
The condition is common in large breed dogs and can cause the of death of a Cane Corso. During the early stages of GDV, the stomach fills up with gas which causes bloat, then progresses to the twisting of the stomach.
The twisted stomach and its pressure on large veins in the abdomen which return blood to the heart compromise blood circulation throughout the body. Vital organs are deprived of oxygen and blood which results in system shock that causes sudden death within a few minutes to a few hours.
The symptoms of bloat come up quickly and worsen rapidly. These symptoms include a distended stomach, dry heaving, and excessive drooling.
Heart Disease: Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle which is common in the Cane Corso. The disease causes the heart to lose its ability to pump blood which causes poor circulation resulting in an irregular heart rate leading to heart failure.
The disease develops slowly and may have a sudden onset of symptoms which can cause a Cane Corso to develop congestive heart failure in just a few hours.
The sudden symptoms of DCM include rapid heavy breathing when sleeping or resting, difficulty in breathing, restless sleeping, severe drooling, a blue tongue, weakness, coughing or gagging, distended belly, collapsing or fainting followed by sudden death.
Traumatic injuries can cause internal bleeding in a Cane Corso which leads to sudden death.
The causes of Injuries include falls from high places, being hit by a car or object, or the rupture of a tumor. These injuries can cause internal bleeding and sudden death.
Hemangiosarcoma is cancer that can develop in a Cane Corso. The cancer usually develops in the spleen but also can develop in other organs.
It rapidly spreads, bursts and a Cane Corso collapses and dies suddenly. All this happens without their owner knowing what is happening within their dog.
Poisoning is also a common cause of sudden death which may cause seizures, internal bleeding, difficulty in breathing, and death.
Poisoning can be from ingestion of toxins such as chemicals found around the home, prescription medication or over-the-counter medications, some human foods such as garlic or snake bites.
Symptoms of poisoning are present before death occurs but can suddenly progress and cause death.
What should you do when your dog dies suddenly
- When your dog suddenly dies, call your vet immediately and inform them of the situation.
- The vet will advise on the next steps. They will suggest an autopsy to determine the cause of death as well as methods of disposal. If you wish for them to handle the disposal, they will organize for collection thereafter a cremation or burial will be organized depending on your preference.
- Wear gloves and move your dog to an area in your home that is cool to wait for the collection of the dog’s body.
- Clean the area where your dog died if there is any fluid to prevent the spread of any contamination.
How to protect your Cane Corso from common causes of sudden death
Protection against the causes of the sudden death of a Cane Corso can be done. Implement the following prevention precautions:
Early Diagnosis of heart disease
Medical checkups for a Cane Corso should be done to know the health status and risks of the development of heart disease.
Ask your vet about the tests required for diagnosis. The vet may advise tests including cardiac ultrasound, electrocardiograms (ECG), blood tests, and X-rays.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is not curable but early diagnosis allows for treatment to help control the symptoms and prevent complications.
Management of the disease is through diet and medication which significantly helps in the control of the disease.
The ideal time for diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is before the onset of the symptoms which helps in the management of the disease in the early stages.
The prognosis of a Cane Corse that already have the symptoms is bad and many do not live for a long time.
Prevention of Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) or bloat complication, is a very serious life-threatening condition common in Cani Corsi.
If you suspect that your Cane Corso has bloat which quickly develops to GDV, immediately take them to the nearest pet emergency center and consult your vet.
The best preventive measure against GDV is through preventive surgery called prophylactic gastropexy or stomach tacking to prevent the occurrence of its complications.
Prevention of injuries
Traumatic injuries of dogs can be prevented by taking appropriate precautions to protect them from harm’s way.
For example, keep your Cane Corso indoors or in a well-fenced backyard, and also have them on a leash during walks in busy places or parks.
Secure windows in your house to prevent falls from high places and supervise them on balconies.
Protection from poisoning
Ensure all toxic substances in your home are kept away from your Cane Corso in an area they cannot access.
Also, learn more about the different foods and household products that are dangerous to your dog and keep them away from them.
The death of your Cane Corso is a very painful experience especially when it’s unexpected.
Knowing why it happened can give one peace of mind as well as having better knowledge on how to prevent it from happening again with another dog as well as being prepared in case it does happen.
For more information on the Cane Corso, breed information, health, behavior and care, feel free to check out the Cane Corso guide for owners.