It took a little over an hour for Sheila to give birth to her first litter of puppies. The tiny chocolate baby Mastiffs, with their eyes closed, wiggled their heads, and embraced their first moments of life. Except Sheila was in distress.
Sheila retched. But her body proved unresponsive. Short breaths, to her owner, seemed like a typical response after giving birth to 3 little beings. “Perhaps this is nothing major”, thought Shiela’s owner. Preying animals aren’t equipped to show pain the way humans might comprehend, and so Sheila, like many companion animals, would be on her own to answer to her own ailments through the remainder of the night.
Sheila’s owner took to her bed and Sheila continued fighting off the pain, attempting to find the relief for several hours until her body surrendered to the trauma. Sheila’s stomach was swollen, and pressing into her heart and lungs, reducing the blood supply slowly.
By morning Sheila’s pups cried out so loudly that the owner came down the stairs to their pen only to find Sheila unresponsive. Once she neared the pen completely she was horrified to learn that Sheila passed away, fighting alone the night before.
Sheila’s owner, Casey was devastated. She cried for days that she had failed her beloved friend in her time of need. In fact, when Casey recalled the evening she knew something was wrong in her gut. But she couldn’t contact a local vet, and she second-guessed herself.
Sheila died due to complications of bloat/GDV, a very serious illness brought on by excessive eating, quickly drinking, and for reasons completely unknown in the veterinary world. It requires immediate attention from a veterinarian.
Why do we make the “diagnosis” and “prognosis” from our incredibly limited understanding of animals we say we love? When did we become the experts for ourselves? Our pets?
If I believe in anything it is positivity. It is that this heartbreaking, yet true story reminds us to get help. Question your doubts, seek peace of mind.