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Our 16-year-old teacup Chihuahua (she was only 2 lbs), Pixie, died last Sunday. We are still devastated. I have been researching for days to figure out why/how she died. I am hoping someone here can give some input. Our vet seems to be at a loss and has chalked it up to old age.

Some background: She was never spayed; we recognize that was a mistake. Generally, she has been healthy most of her life until the last couple of years. During this time, she lost vision in her right eye (cataracts). The arthritis in her back legs got substantially worse, yet she was always able to get around. During the summer of 2015, she suffered a prolapsed uterus and began bleeding quite a bit from her “privates.” The vet said the bleeding was due to a urinary infection so he gave her antibiotics. As she was older, he advised against surgery for the prolapse. Eventually, the prolapse went away and she stopped bleeding. Finally, over the course of the last year or so, she began to suffer from what the vet described as canine dementia. She became a bit forgetful, would sometimes get lost, would struggle to locate the source of sounds, would sometimes wander. So this was her state for the past year or so.

Then, last Saturday night my mom called to tell me that suddenly Pixie was a bit off. She was not excited when my sister showed up (normally, she would be very excited to see her) and was lethargic barely moving. Also, she wasn’t eating. Sunday, she was still in bad shape. The vets here close on the weekend so we were at a total loss. She was struggling to get up to walk (she would fall a few times) and when she would she would take a few steps and just stand there; she seemed lost. Then, Sunday night she passed away. Up until Saturday, there were no signs that she was going to die. It was all of a sudden. Any ideas on what this may have been?

Thank you so much.
 

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Sorry for your loss. The only way to determine the cause of death would have been through an autopsy.

The chances are that her vital organs (liver, kidneys, heart) have been failing for a while due to old age and previous health issues and then on Sunday they were too weak to carry on and shut down..
 

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Thank you for your response. In some ways, I find comfort in knowing she passed peacefully. It was like she just slipped into a deep sleep.
 

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You'd need a necropsy, animal version of an autopsy, to really determine what she passed away from.

If she hadn't eaten, or was eating very little, that's likely what caused her death. I know it's what took Shadow, my 17 year 8 month old dog, who had many of the same symptoms as your Pixie. What I can't begin to guess with either of our dogs is what caused the lack of appetite. I choose not to get the necropsy done since in the end I still wouldn't have my old boy back and it really didn't matter to me what took him since he was so elderly.
 

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Our first Scottish Terrier was always healthy, never quit eating but one day she just lay down in the sun on the front porch and went to sleep. Wasn't till I called her and she didn't move that I realized she had died. I wish they could all have such a peaceful death when it is there time to go.

Sorry to hear about your little dog, she was a good age so things probably just quit on her. Does not sound like she suffered, just went to sleep.
 

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Unfortunately like humans, once they reach an advanced age, internal organs begin to fail. Once it becomes advanced, its like a chain reaction, and the end can come very suddenly. Heartbreaking as her loss is, you can take some comfort know, that she led a long and happy live, thanks to your care and caring.
 
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