husky_papa
THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your kind responses after my 2 first posts on this forum. For those of you who don't know my story, I lost a female siberian husky 3 years ago in a very traumatic way: we had adopted her at 4 years old and 18 months later she seemed in great health, full of energy, but she suddenly passed away, probably from a heart attack or a ruptured aneurysm.
 
Guilt has followed me all these years. 3 months before she passed away, we changed her food from dry food to home cooked food. Fanta and my male husky Tyrion loved the new food. Our goal was to give the healthiest food so our dogs could live a very long life. As a teenager, my wife had a husky who lived 18 years! And her parents fed her home cooked food. So we went online, went to different websites to know the right amount of meat, vegetables and cereals, etc, to put in their meals. It took us hours each week to prepare their meals, but it seemed worth it: not only did the dogs love the food (it made them literally nuts!), but they also digested it much better than dry food. 
 
After my sweet, amazing Fanta died, we went to our vet and asked him what might have been the cause of her death and we had Tyrion do all kinds of tests to make sure he was healthy. The vet kept saying: "you are absolutely NOT responsible for what happened to Fanta." But then, Tyrion's blood test results came back showing an iron deficiency. The vet said the food we gave them might have lacked meat. The proportion of meat might not have been high enough. We were giving the amount of meat that was recommended online (even a little more) but it probably was not enough. So we asked if that might have contributed to Fanta's heart attack or ruptured aneurysm, and he said "that might have". 
 
Since then, I've been wondering: "has it played a role ?" "Could we have prevented Fanta's death by asking a professional to tell us the best proportions of meat, cereals and vegetables to put in their meals?" 
 
I can't help but feel guilty even if I didn't find any clear link between lack of iron and ruptured aneurysm online, even if the cause might have been completely unrelated to her food, and even if I know it's frequent to feel guilty and wonder "what if I had done things differently,  would my pet still be alive?"
 
Any thoughts? Have you ever felt something like this?
Luc
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pannklaus
These are unanswerable questions.  When a pet dies suddenly, as one of mine did, there is no way to know for certain exactly what caused the death, even if you are given a general answer like "a heart attack" as I was given. My daughter felt tremendous guilt when the cat died because she had just picked her up and was holding her.  My daughter believed for a very long time that if she had not been holding the cat, the cat would not have had a heart attack, even though several professionals at the vets office told her that she did not cause the cat's death. When someone feels guilty and believes that they caused the death,  it is extremely difficult to change that belief no matter what anyone says or does as I found out with my daughter.

You can continue to speculate and do the "what ifs" but the reality has already occurred and you  can't change that.  It is very sad and tragic but you were and are a responsible pet owner who tries to do what is best for your beloved fur babies as we all  do.  Sometimes after an event occurs we may learn that perhaps  if we had done something differently MAYBE the outcome would have been different--or maybe not.  We all do the best that we can with the knowledge that we have at the time and that is all that we can do.  Even vets sometimes may not make the best decision when there are several options and they choose one which doesn't work out well. We may try a treatment which doesn't work and causes harm but we don't know until that occurs that we should not have tried that treatment. So again, you did the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time and that is all that should be expected.
Patsy
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husky_papa
Thank you so much!
Luc
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Mistysmama
If it was an aneurysm, there was most likely nothing you could have done to prevent it. And you wouldn't know it was there (and probably, neither would Fanta)

If she had iron deficiency it is just possible it wasn't diet related, but she could have had some blood loss chronically, internally?  Or did she have renal issues?
You most likely wouldn't have known about either, unless her bloodwork showed a distinct abnormality.
Some dogs have a familial (genetic) tendency to bad kidneys, and this can take them even in youth. And sometimes it can happen quite suddenly. Unless their bloodwork is very closely monitored, it wouldn't be obvious until the last minute.
Again  if it were sudden heart collapse, that could have been genetic, and outside of your control, or anyone else's.



I am sure you gave her good food. It sounds like you tried to, and put some thought into it.

I had a similar issue when my girl passed from hemangiosarcoma (blood vessel cancer originating in spleen) She'd been on ACE inhibitors for a few months before she developed hemangiosarcoma. They are "angiotensin" drugs, and affect the blood vessels. She was on that for slight kidney weakness (she was an old gal, though  still acting like a youngster!) So I was worried that those drugs might have negatively affected her blood vessels and caused the cancer to grow.

So I did some research, and there were no findings or case histories. I emailed a Prof. about my worries, but he could see no clinical link (and he was unbiased.)

It is something we all seem to do : examine every detail to see if we have made fatal mistakes, or are responsible for their deaths. It is sad, why we do that, but we all do it. I don't know why, except that seems to be part of the process of grieving too, like other things.

Take care and kind thoughts. Blessings to dear Fanta.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer http://www.mistysblog69.blogspot.co.uk

Misty's life after death: http://www.dog2spirit.com
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Aztecsmom
Dear husky papa,

I wish I had some inspiring words to help ease your pain. I’m so sorry you are going through this and I wanted to let you know you aren’t alone with your feelings. I haven’t been able to get off the guilt train for 2 1/2 years since I lost my soulmate suddenly. Honestly, I think I will feel guilty forever, but that’s just me. I’ve always been hard on myself and struggled with being a perfectionist. I’ve still been trying to “solve the puzzle” as to what happened to my little man and it’s gotten me no where because bottom line is that I will never find out. I don’t do well without closure. All of the what if’s and should or shouldn’t haves consume me every day. It’s beyond overwhelming and obsessive. I’ve dissected every single thing about his life going back to when he was a puppy and I know it’s unhealthy. I just can’t stop. I also find myself doing the same thing with my surviving pup. She’s 14.5 and has been declining for over a year now, ever since I was bullied into getting a dental for her at a new vet (her teeth weren’t that bad). She was very healthy prior to that dental aside from some arthritis and a sensitive stomach. Well now she’s a completely different dog. It’s like she’s aged 10 years and has many health issues that started right after the surgery. So, of course I feel guilty for ever agreeing to it. I know how difficult it is because we feel so responsible for their lives. They give us nothing but conditional love and we feel we owe it to them to give them the very best back. It seems like you did the very best for Fanta. Not many people take the time to cook for their dogs. I know I didn’t and I wish that I had. Everyone keeps telling me that I’m human and we make mistakes. But, I didn’t want to make mistakes with my babies. I really wish I had something more positive to tell you, but again, I just wanted to let you know that I feel the same exact way after all this time. Hugs to you.
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Stealthcat
I agree with what everyone has said. You did the research and fed your pup home cooked meals, which is a lot more than a lot of people do! You did what you could for your baby out of love.  And perhaps your husky just happened to have an issue with maintaining a high enough iron level and it may have had nothing to do with you or the food. It may have even happened if she was fed out-of-the-box/can dog food as well.  

I hope you are able to look at the wonderful things you've done and not think about how you feel responsible, because I don't think you are. Aneurysms happen even when iron levels are normal as well. I just don't want guilt to eat you up when you did what you could for your baby. 
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