Tests: Seaman died of natural causes

Friday, July 30, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:35 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

No definitive cause of death was identified in the case of Seaman, the dog of the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, Waverly Police Chief Jesse Coslet said. According to the final report, Seaman probably died of either diaphragmatic hernia or acute heat stress, Coslet said.

The final diagnosis comes after a necropsy and a pesticides test, performed in the MU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and toxicology tests for poisons and amphetamines, carried out in an out-of-state diagnostic lab.

“No foul play is suspected,” Coslet said. “The dog died of natural causes and no further investigation will take place.”

Diaphragmatic hernia is common in young animals and it can develop from trauma or be present at birth, said Dr. Gayle Johnson, associate director of the lab. If the condition is found early in the animal, it can be treated, but if not, it can result in death. Seaman’s hernia was present at birth.

The 20-month-old dog was in the group of re-enactors traveling the Missouri River to commemorate the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Seaman died June 16, while the group was in Waverly. The expedition has since acquired another Newfoundland and named it Seaman’s Bicentennial.

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