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How could she have drowned?

September 22nd, 2007, 08:47 PM
Hi everyone, last weekend our 8 month boxer died at the lake an hour after being in the water only up to her belly. We thought it was for sure blue-green algae poisoning, which is knwon to come about in the lakes when it it gets very hot. It lasts a couple weeks and animals dont usually last an hour after eating it. I gave her mouth to nose on the 15 minute ride into town. It seemed like the lungs were blocked as i could only get a bit of air in them. On the vet table she was already dead but all this light brown/clear fliud started coing out of her nose. The vet had no suggestion re the fliud. She suspected also algae poisoning. A week later (today) the autopsy result show her as drowning. No infection, no poisoning, healthy heart. Drowning! The lungs were full. She was not in the water more than a couple minutes but may have put her nose under the water and breathed in. I guess. After being in the water she walked around a bit for 30 minutes before we found her all but expired in the trees. She did take a drink of water from her dish before all this but i cant see how she could have drowned. Do you have any advise? Thanks!!!!!!!!!!

September 22nd, 2007, 09:10 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about your boxer, Robert. :sad: So strange!

I don't really have anything definitive, but I know that some irritants or allergens can cause the lungs to fill with water--aspirated sea water, for example. Perhaps there was something in the lake--the algae you mentioned--that caused something similar?

I hope you find some closure on this. :grouphug: You certainly did all you could for her!


September 22nd, 2007, 10:59 PM
How awful! I have no idea what could have happened but wanted to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. :grouphug::grouphug:

September 22nd, 2007, 11:40 PM
I only know about drowning in children and it can take very little water to cause death from drowning but without all the details, it's hard for me to ascertain why your beloved boxer died. A child and presumably a pet can drown in a few inches of water - enough to cover the mouth and nose.

To be more technical, drowning is defined as death secondary to asphyxia while immersed in a liquid, usually water, or within 24 hours of submersion. The classic image of a victim helplessly gasping and thrashing in the water extraordinarily rare! The usual scenario is of a motionless individual floating in the water or quietly disappearing beneath the surface.

The problems is when a pet or toddler or anyone for that matter is immersed in water - and it can be a tiny amt even in a bathtub! (Actually deat by downing in bath tubs is THE most common type for toddlers!!!)- there is gasping and possible aspiration and that leads to hyperventilation and laryngospasm (choking). This leads to hypoxemia. That all kleads to problems with electrolytes and depending on the amt of hypoxemia and acidosis (electrolytes inbalance essentially), the child or pet may develop cardiac arrest and central nervous system (CNS) ischemia. This leads to a relaxation of the airway and allows the lungs to take in water even though some is coughed out.

There are different types of drowning "dry" and "wet" - dry is when nothing is aspirated and wet the opposite). I wonder if what often occurs for small children is similar for pets -the size issue I mean. In small children, apnea (an abrupt stopping breathing - think of sleep apnea) and this causes bradycardia and other cardiac issues and complications with circuilation.

In addition to the heart, the main organ affected by any amt of water is the lung and it is not all that unsimilar to severe pneumonia.

So -if I had to guess, I rather think the chlorine or other chemicals had little to do with it. I have seen thousands of children (more than I can ever count tho the unusual situations come to mind) and rarely is there any time for chemicals -even in pools - public or in the back yard - to become a problem. A child or pet can be in the water for less than a minute and drown.

Hope this is not too technically disturbing but if you have read the necropsy, you will have those details as well. I seriously doubt the algae had a singe thing to do with it. The brown stuff that came up would have been part of the water but most algae is not poisonous and only a very very few exotic types usually NOT in North America could cause poisoning and that would occur over an extended period of time. Red Tide would be the only one I can think of here. and the necropsy would have shown that - and drowning would have occurred long before that could occur.

I am so sorry for yuor loss! It is heartbreaking!! :grouphug:

September 23rd, 2007, 12:34 AM
This is a great forum! Thanks everyone for your wishes and your super replies. Tha answers are starting to come out for us. The lake water she was in breifly was a thick green. Like pea soup. (Which is how they describe deadly "blue-green algae" looking sometimes.) With the water in her lungs a kinda clear brown color i cant think of a connection there. After being in the water she layed on the beach watching me work. I noticed some saliva around her mouth and asked to come and see me. She reluctancly walked over to where i was and i wiped her off. then she just turned around and walked back to where she was origianlly watching me. She was all but gone 20 minutes later. Go figure. Thanks all!

September 23rd, 2007, 11:54 AM
My heart goes out to you So sorry for your loss ((((hugs)))))

September 23rd, 2007, 12:34 PM
my deepest sympathy:sad:

September 23rd, 2007, 02:46 PM
:sad: So sorry for such a sudden loss...:grouphug: