We'd always thought of Gabriel as being healthy until the evening of Friday, July 8, when we came home from work to find him panting and unable to walk.  It was very hot, so our first thought was heat exhaustion.  We cooled him off and he did improve somewhat, but still seemed weak and short of breath the following day, so we took him to the vet.

The vet took some blood and sent it to the lab, and since we weren't sure what was going on, we started him on antibiotics, just in case he had some kind of infection.  We also kept him inside during the day to protect him from the heat.

He seemed to improve for a few days, then I found him collapsed again on the morning of July 13 and rushed him to the vet, where he was hospitalized.  His lab results had come back by then and showed some inflammation, but nothing very informative.  

Later in the afternoon, the vet called to report that he'd abruptly lost his vision and was having seizures and there really wasn't anything else that could be done for him.  An autopsy revealed that his heart was in very bad condition.  He'd probably had a couple of heart attacks (my guess is one on July 8 and a second on July 13), plus he had an aneurysm beneath his heart, and that had ruptured.  The loss of vision and seizures may have been caused by a stroke.  He was lucky to have lived as long as he did.

Our vet explained to us that since Embdens are raised for meat, their genetics have been altered so that they grow very quickly and can be sent to slaughter while still young.  Sadly, as a result of this, they often don't have a normal life expectancy.