I came home last night to find my 7-and-a-half-year-old Rottweiler had passed away. It must have happened not too long before I got home. He looked like he had been sleeping, his eyes were closed and his mouth was almost closed. The only sign of trauma was a bloody nose. He had diarrhea a couple of times about two weeks ago, and it seemed his backbone was more prominent lately. But he was by no means skinny at 110 pounds. I had been feeding him less food because he was becoming overweight.
This morning, when they came to pick him up, my husband said that there was a lot more blood coming from his nose. The gentleman who came to get him said he thought it was probably an aneurism, but someone else said it sounded like poison. We do not have anything poisonous in our yard, so this is a concern because I still have my Siberian Husky who frequents the area.
I miss my Rottweiler so much and cannot stop crying. Do you have any idea what may have happened?
Please accept my deepest condolences over the very unexpected loss of your beloved boy. Bleeding from the nose on a deceased animal, unfortunately, does not always point toward the underlying cause of death. The reason being that regardless of the original cause, eventually cardiac and pulmonary failure will occur, which causes fluid and blood to pool into the respiratory system, resulting in nosebleed.
Granted, bleeding from the nose and respiratory passages could indicate a bleeding disorder (which can be caused by some poisons – usually rodent bait); however, the most common cause for relatively sudden death in an older Rottweiler is a splenic tumor. Hemangiosarcoma of the spleen is a very common finding in middle age to older large breed dogs. The tumor is composed of blood vessels and eventually ruptures and causes a life-threatening hemorrhage into the abdomen. If not caught and treated immediately with an emergency splenectomy surgery, the dog passes away very quickly from internal bleeding. Inability to clot will cause the body to attempt to seal the hemorrhage, resulting in exhaustion of the body’s ability to clot, thereby hemorrhaging into the respiratory tract. Unfortunately, without a necropsy (an autopsy for dogs), the cause of death cannot be conclusively identified in any pet.