Sunday, April 22, 2012

The cause of Emma's sudden death

This email/post is not an easy one to make. My stomach has been in knots since Emma’s illness first became serious. It’s hard to not wonder if there was anything more I could do for her and if it was my fault that she passed away. I received a phone call from the vet’s office Thursday morning while I was at work. Emma’s ashes were ready to be picked up and the results of the necropsy were in. My heart dropped to my stomach, I was shaking, wanted to throw up, was hot, nauseous and all that goes with my nerves being shot at that very moment. I finally was able to put it in God’s hands and I said the following prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, hold me in your arms during this extremely difficult time of waiting and learning the results of the necropsy on Emma. I have prayed for you to guide the veterinarians to do all they can to come to a conclusive finding. I pray for an absolute answer that is in the best interest of everyone involved. God, please give me the strength to accept the results as they are and guide me in the right direction that I need to take after the results are revealed. Whether it be something other than PDE or PDE itself, I will rely upon you to help me through this. Thank you for blessing me with my friendship with Lois. Her shoulder to cry on, listening ear and advice has provided me with comfort. Lord, please protect those who need protecting and help those who need to be helped. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

All day I had been so nervous and on pins and needles. I was finally going to find out what happened to Emma. When I walked into the office I was handed her ashes and sat down to wait for the doctor to finish with another patient. You’re not going to believe what happened next. While sitting there a lady walked in with a Pug!! Her name was Pika and she weighed in at a petite 15 lbs, just like Emma! A sense of calmness came over me and I know that was a sign from my baby girl that things are going to be ok and I need to move forward.

Dr. Jolly took me into a room and immediately revealed that Emma’s death was absolutely caused by Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE). I took a deep breath and shook my head in an agreeing way. I knew in my heart that it was that awful disease that took her life so suddenly. Now that it’s officially been confirmed, I will be educating others and getting the word out about PDE. I’ve researched PDE a lot these last few weeks and learned that PDE can be prevented! In June 2010 there was a breakthrough in the research of PDE and a test became available to find out the risk of a pug being susceptible to PDE. Even though it is not a diagnostic tool, it is a test for breeders to find out if the Pugs they’re using in their breeding program have the high risk susceptible markers. This allows a breeder to select pugs for breeding that have the lower susceptible markers instead.

It is imperative that ALL PUG BREEDERS test their breeding pairs for these markers. Any reputable breeder who is dedicated to the betterment of the breed knows about this test and is using it in their breeding program. A Pug should NOT have to go through this and NO ONE should have their heart broken because of this.

Unfortunately the test was not available before Emma was born in 2006, so there was no way to know if she was at a high risk of being susceptible to PDE. Once it’s confirmed that a Pug has succumbed to PDE and brought to the attention of the breeder, it is the responsibility of the breeder to notify all of their purchasers of the case of PDE. There is no way to predict if a Pug will have PDE, you can only be aware of the signs and symptoms. At that point, all you can do is hold on for dear life because you’re in for one heck of an emotional roller coaster ride. I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure all breeders do not breed the high susceptibility risk Pugs together.
What YOU can do in Memory of Emma!

Learn as much as you can about PDE and share it with other Pug lovers.

Before purchasing a Pug, ask the breeder if he/she is testing their breeding Pugs for the susceptibility to Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE). If NOT, politely decline to purchase from them and refer them to UC Davis Veterinary Medicine for information on the test.

Encourage everyone you know to NOT purchase from a breeder who does not test for the susceptibility to Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE).

If you have questions feel free to ask.  I’m up to a respectful educational discussion.

Use this email/post as an educational tool as much as you can.  Feel free to copy this and distribute as you see fit.  All I ask is that you copy as I have written it and note that I am the one who wrote it. 

If you are a Facebook user, please consider voting for Emma’s photo in her memory. You can VOTE& SHARE DAILY through 5/2/12. It would be great to win a $100 gift certificate to Mud Bay in her Memory.

Subscribe to and share this blog that I created in Memory of Emma.

Hug and snuggle your precious Pugs for me today. You never know what tomorrow brings.

Mindy Elie
Facebook ID puggedbymeeko


  1. I'm still so shocked and saddened for you, Mindy, but glad that you have answers. I researched PDE when Kobee had his seizure last summer and it was terrifying. I'm glad that your beautiful girl isn't suffering, and that she had your love her whole life. Sending my love your way-
    Lisa and Kobee

  2. This is a wonderful thing you are doing, Mindy. And I think it will help you too. I have to remind myself that I am in His loving care to help me get through this, so thanks for the prayer. My stomach is still in knots. I haven't brought myself to open Payton's urn yet.

  3. soo sooo very proud of you Min. Love you!!!

  4. Mindy, I am SO sorry for your loss, but the fact that you can talk about it and what we can do is wonderful! You are a testament to Emma's memory!