Leeno
My chihuahua died 3 days ago and I feel such unimaginable guilt and grief.  She was my baby and I left her at the vet - in visible respiratory distress - staring at me from an oxygen box that was doing nothing for her.  She was restless and pacing with a respiratory rate of 45.  I left her like that.  I feel like she just gave up when she saw me just leave her and walk out the door.  I told myself I will go home keep busy and they will fix her.  I didn't make it back home for 10min when I got the call that she coded and they were working on her.  I am in total disbelief.  She has had a chronic cough for years and whenever I took her to vet - it was always the same answer.  They presumed it was chronic bronchitis and put her on antibiotics.  I stopped taking her in for the cough because how many times can a dog be put on antibiotics.  The night before she died - I gave her a bath & she coughed on some water.  Her cough was worse that night and she was wheezing.  I was thinking aspiration pneumonia.  The vet told me she had a very loud heart murmur and thought she went into heart failure from undiagnosed CHF.  I can't help thinking that her choking on water pushed her heart over the edge.  I keep thinking - she would be alive if I hadn't given her a bath.  I should have demanded her to be taken out of oxygen tank and held her.  Instead - that is the last image of her in my mind.  Her in distress, panting.  I'm an ER nurse and I kept thinking - if a person looked like she did - we would not just watch her like that.  I'm mad that they didn't immediately intubate her.  II keep thinking - if only I had taken her in sooner - before she was in such distress.   I miss her terribly and I don't know what to do.  I cry all day and can barely get myself out of bed.
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mrcatsam
cc,

I'm so sorry for the loss of your chihuahua. Sometimes, when these things happen we mull over what we could've done rather than where we are now. Nothing you did was out of malice. You gave her that bath because you loved her, and wanted her to be clean. You left her at the vet because that's what the vet told you to do. Please don't think I'm saying "Don't worry about it," because that's absolutely not what I'm saying. Though you did nothing wrong, you have a right to be mad at yourself, or the vet, or even me for telling you this. I won't tell you what to feel, but I hope this helps you. 

You have us if you need any consolation or have any questions.

sincere condolences,

Sam
Samuel
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Leeno
Thank you for the words.  I know I didn't act with malice but it still is hard thinking of the way I last saw her.  And honestly - I didn't need to give her a bath.  She had one 2 days prior.  I was giving my other dogs a much needed bath and was to return to work this past Monday so I figured I would rinse her down again.  The vet thinks that wasn't the issue.  She was in failure and a severe heart murmur, common with her breed.  Unfortunately I have had such awful experiences with veterinary medicine that I don't find peace in anything they say.   I realize that many people love there vet and I'm not saying they are all awful, but I have about zero confidence in the ones I've seen.  I think sometimes my feelings about that are because of being a ER nurse for 15+ yrs and I compare veterinary medicine to human medicine and the 2 are worlds apart.   
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Pennysforevermom
My heart aches for you. I experienced the same thing 2 months ago. My baby was diagnosed with CHF and I gave her a bath. She started wheezing and I rushed her to the vet. She had to be placed in an oxygen cage. I healed from that experience because she pulled through and I was able to bring her home. I almost collapsed from grief at the vet when I found out that her bath triggered her breathing problems. I spent two months showering her with love. She passed away suddenly on Saturday. I understand your grief. You bathed your baby because you love her. We didn't know. I'm so sorry and I understand.
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Leeno
The vet determined she ruptured her heart from undiagnosed CHF.  At this point - none of that matters because she's gone.  My boyfriend keeps telling me to "snap out of it."  I'm on this blog because I WANT TO snap out of it.  I want to feel normal - want this pit in my stomach to leave - to cook again which I love - but all I do is cry.  I don't have control over it.  I believe in God and believe this was his will - that we don't have control of when and how we die.  This is not a comfort right now - I try - but everything reminds me of her.
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BoxerMomForever
Leeno, I am very sorry for your loss. That is heartbreaking but please don’t blame yourself. I’m sorry she went undiagnosed.  That is sad.  Losing a pet is very hard and it takes time to grieve.  I’m so glad I found this wonderful community here, it helped me when my girl passed in October.  I hope it helps you as well.  People are so caring on here.  
Linda *Mom to two boxer angels* Lily {White Girl} 6/22/09 - 10/14/19  ** Ginger {Flashy Fawn Girl} 6/4/97 - 5/28/09
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Leeno
My baby did go undiagnosed - which yes is sad.  But up until her last day - I don’t feel like she lived in pain.  Yes she had a chronic cough.  But she was active & playful & a part of me is happy I never went down the Med route.  Meds are hard on pets & unfortunately all too often vets just want to cash in on your pets expense.  I have to believe - my mother in heaven who suffered immensely with CHF & heart valve issues - was looking out for my baby.  She used to tell me “I know I shouldn’t have a favorite - but out of all the dogs - Bella is my favorite.”  This has been an awful ordeal - but I have to believe It’s Gods plan.  
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VR
Am so sorry for your loss!  Reading your post really hit home with me... I had to board Lily (shih try) for several weeks while I was in the hospital. I just imagined her sweet little face alone in a cage.  When I picked her up, she was skin and bones and was very skiddish. It broke my heart.  She had congestive heart failure that got worse when I boarded her.  At any rate, I made the decision to put her down. I feel terrible... like what if I was wrong?  What if I hadn’t boarded her?  I had her for 12 years and my life feels so sad and lost without her.
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Olgita256
My sincere condolences.    I lost my boy over 2 years ago.   I was an emotional mess.  He was 15 1/2 a Pomeranian.... had him since he was 3 months.  I write to give you hope.  It took me 8-9 months to feel a bit better.  Lost 15 lbs in a matter of 4-5 months.  Sought counseling... he was diagnosed with Cushings... was on harsh meds.. the what if’s were killing me.   Two years later there is not a day I don’t think about him.   I have let go of the what if’s and I’m able to reminisce about the good times    Time helps... your heart will heal.  While I was at work I would run to my car at least 3-4 times a day and cry my heart out.  I would come home and kick my pillow and scream and cry.   Don’t let anyone tell you to “snap out of it”.  My sister would roll her eyes when she’d visit and saw how I was.  I would suggest don’t try to hold your feelings... it’s a process.. cry when you need to.  Find a place to scream, kick or just talk to her as if she was stil there listening.   I know right now it feels as if you will never heal but I’m here to tell you that you will.  I will say a prayer for you.  
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VR
Awww! Thanks so much for your kind words and support... they really mean a lot to me!  I had a Pomeranian that I adored.  They are the smartest, sweetest dogs ever. I was devastated when she died.  At any rate, I know that time helps... easier said than done.  I can’t believe how much I miss her and how painful this is... it feels unbearable at times.  She was a stray but she saved me.  So thanks again... not that I ever wanted you to suffer but it does help that you’ve been there and survived 🙏
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kilateamo
Hey. 
Just want you to rest assured the bath didn't really have anything to do with your baby's death. CHF is definitely the reason for your dogs coughing - and please post who your crappy vet was that kept misdiagnosing that cough so noone has to go thru this. 
Also, I'm sobbing uncontrollably, because I know precisely how you feel.
It's been 2 weeks now. a month since my girl Kila was diagnosed with CHF after an episode of pulmonary edema. Leaving her at the emergency vet that first night, on her diuretic drip and in the oxygen chamber, after 13.5 yrs of never being without me... I thought she would die. But she made it. And she got better. They put her on meds and I was over the moon when she started acting like herself. 
Then 2 weeks ago happened. 
The breath rate went up again. She was at 70 to 80 breaths a minute. 

Took her back to the emergency vet to be put on oxygen, we had her cardiologist appt in 48 hrs, and were very confident the same treatment would help her make it til then. Apart from the fast breathing she seemed like herself. 
Again, we mainly worried about leaving her without us overnight, in a place where all they handle is stress. IDK about you, but an ER is not a peaceful place conducive to recovery.
My husband slept in the waiting room, and she improved once again. 
The next day, we were excited that she'd gotten better. My husband spent some time with her in the morning, her breathing was down, she was alert, eating, drinking, etc. That night we were bringing her home.
He left the vets to go to work. He told her he'd be back to pick her up later.


And this is where she suddenly started to go downhill. Fast. 
In the dr notes, it says that when he left she started barking and acting out in distress.
They did not call us. Didn't care apparently that she -a dog with an advanced heart condition- was very clearly stressed out. I told them to call me as soon as this happened. She was highly anxious, and I know what anxiety does to the body...
 They finally called 5 hrs later. Her condition had deteriorated to where she was now coughing blood.
They said our only option was to put her to sleep. I drove as fast as I could and met my husband there.
And we made the worst decision we have ever made.
My last memories of her, in that oxygen cage, coughing blood, her last breaths... pthen coming home, numb, and reading the dr notes only to realize she basically got stressed out so much she undid all her progress.....
I will never get over this.
I hate the entire emergency room.
I hope theyre all as suicidal as Im told vets are. Heartless jerks didnt call like I asked. I will forever wonder if me being there sooner wouldve made a difference. During her first stay I called every hr to check on her, something I didnt do that final day because I didnt want to bother the drs and nurses. BIG mistake. Drs are not to be trusted. They are only people there making a living. Noone is that invested in their job, and thats what my baby was to them, their job.
I have also developed the sense that, why are animals so easily just observed while they die? If these were people at a hospital, the drs and nurses would be on it, trying to save the life of whomever was in their care. 
Euthanasia would never be an option, as much as some people would like it to be (as Im sure some dogs are, like when theyve been in pain for a long time).
The fact that euthanasia and the "wait and see" approach is used when its a dogs life on the line.... makes me want to rewind time and be a better advocate for my animals health care. 

Sorry, I hate life right now. Being stuck at home is not helping.
I dont even know what my original point was. I think it was to let you know that I see you, feel you, you are not alone in your grief. I'm crying with you. 
Please write about your experience both with the emergency vets as well as the crap vet that hadnt caught your babys condition sooner, so you can save others from callous and careless "care"givers.

I hope our ladies are having so much fun, wherever they are... feeling like puppies again.

so much love. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, for the feelings. This is the worst.
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Leeno
I used Melbourne Animal Clinic for her rabies shots/check up.  They told me from the start that she had a "slight murmur."  Looking back, I could have agreed to more repeat chest x-rays (hadn't been done in awhile) - but my Chihuahua was only 3# and didn't want exposed to radiation unless absolutely necessary.  Also she had been put under approx 10mo prior for dental - how did they not find a worsening murmur at that time? Her coughing episodes over the past year - became much more frequent.  I would give her lung supplements which seemed to help.  But anytime we played with her or she barked - it would trigger a coughing spell.  A week prior to her death - I said I needed to find a lung specialist for her.  I heard her heart murmur when she was sleeping - it had gotten louder.  Sounds just like it does with people (kinda like a washing machine).   But it didn't occur to me at the time that it was a worsening murmur that I was hearing.  I took her to Aloha Pet and Bird Hospital when she was in distress.  They were supposed to be a "higher level of care."  But unfortunately - her vet was just recently licensed 2019.  Why is she practicing alone as a vet with less than 1 year experience?  She did not have the experience to deal with a dog in acute distress.  The part that is most bothersome - that I replay in my mind over and over again....the vet said to me "one thing that doesn't make any sense is her low body temp."  My mind at the time was in such agony because Bella looked so awful that it didn't occur to me WHY she was hypothermic.  But it's the same thing that happens with people.  Hypothermia means shock.  All of her vital signs indicated she was in cardiogenic shock.  Why did a licensed Vet not know this?  She should have never said that it was a "mystery to her."  That doesn't mean stick her in a oxygen tank - that means she needs aggressive intervention.  Like you (Kilateamo) I have an immense hatred for veterinarians but I'm trying to work through that and not be a hateful/bitter person.  Unfortunately - a large percentage of the vet population are just too inexperienced. You didn't get a call because they probably didn't realize how dire the situation was.  They have a God complex.  I keep thinking I should have taken her to the animal ER.  Except THEY almost killed my dachshund.  The vet told me she must take these "6 different meds for the rest of her life or she will die."  They were treating a back issue (back legs were flaccid).   One of the meds was rimadyl - a med you should NEVER give to an elderly dog without something to protect her stomach.  The so-called "life saving" meds gave her a GI bleed.  I took her off ALL meds and gave her left over pain meds from when my mom was in hospice & crated her/sling walked her for 8wks.  Needless to say, my dachshund (who also has Cushing's) is 16 yrs old today and all I have her on is 3 holistic supplements for Cushing's.   Also - do your research.  My Bella went into cardiac arrest and I opted for CPR.  Dogs have a 6% survival rate from CPR & the 6% that survive - are ones WITHOUT any underlying medical condition. THEY of course didn't mention that when asked the question - I guess they didn't want to forfeit the extra $300 charge for administering CPR.  I was thinking it was like people.  People have a 50% percent chance & pretty much ALWAYS have an underlying condition.  Next time around - I will seek out a experienced veterinarian and one that is experienced in the particular breed of concern.  I will ask a reputable breeder or a dog trainer.  It's like asking a nurse which doctor to go see because we see behind the scenes.  
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kilateamo
It sucks we had to learn these lessons the hard way... and I probably will never be able to have another pet. 
We had opted not to do a DNR after the Vet tech that was getting the paperwork from us told me that CPR usually doesn't work. she didnt volunteer the info, I asked what she would do if it was her dog.
WHY DON'T THEY EXPLAIN THE OPTIONS BETTER?! especially in a situation where they know you are stressed and can't think clearly.
I hope you write a detailed review about the care you received at these places. I did. Kept it pretty emotionless on my part, but made sure to describe everything as it happened, so people are aware and make it a point to stay in these people's faces when they leave their beloved dog in their care. 
I do hope we experience some peace soon. The fact I can't ever hold my baby again makes my life hurt. 
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Leeno
I did ask the vet tech what she would do.  She kept telling me she couldn't answer that.  I couldn't get a straight answer from anyone - except when it came to the bill.   I ended up opting for CPR b/c I told myself - it doesn't really matter.  She's going to pull through and it won't come down to that.  I do hope someday you will be able to have another pet again. 
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kilateamo
OMG why could a medical provider not answer a question relating to their professional opinion regarding the care of a patient?!
OK, won't rant here... but that made my blood boil.

I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss.

and about more pets... my mom never let me have a dog when I was little. She would explain to me and my sis that she had a dog once, that dogs are the best, but that when Suzy (her dog) died, her heart never recovered. I always thought it was sad that she couldn't open her heart up for another fur baby since she's such an animal lover.

But now I get it.

She was protecting herself from feeling THIS. 

THIS has been the most hardcore grief I have ever felt. I've lost life long friends as well as family members I've been very close to and admired (to long bouts of illness as well as unexpected sudden death circumstances); nothing has ever felt like THIS. 

May we both survive THIS.

Thanks so much for posting.
Your story made me feel less alone in my feelings of guilt, anger, regret, and resulting despair over an outcome that can't be changed. xxxx

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