Dog Training and Behavior
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June 22, 2022
LEARN ABOUT LIFE THREATENING BLOAT IN DOGS
Gastric dilation, most commonly known as Bloat, is a health emergency that requires immediate attention. Every second counts. Gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV) is bloat with a twisted stomach.
Any dog can bloat but it is more common in large breed deep chested dogs. Dogs over 90lbs should be considered at risk. Risk of bloat increases with age. Great Danes are the number one breed affected by bloat followed by Greyhound, St. Bernard, Weimaraner, German Shepherd, Boxer, setter breeds and the Bassett Hound.
CAUSES THAT HAVE BEEN LINKED to an INCREASED RISK OF BLOAT INCLUDE:
- History of bloat in a particular breed hints to a possible genetic predisposition
- Dogs eating too fast increases the ingestion of excess air
- Drinking excessive amount of water at once time
- Feeding dry food with heavy fat/oil content
- Elevated feeding bowls promotes ingestion of excess air
- Exercising on a full stomach
- Feeding larger meals vs. several smaller meals
THE PROCESS OF BLOAT:
When excess gas accumulates in the stomach, the distension quickly kinks off both entrance and exit of the stomach. There is no way for the dog to dispel the gas normally accomplished by burping or passing gas through the intestines. Pressure from the gas compromises blood flow of the stomach wall, which starts suffering tissue injury immediately. The gas-filled stomach starts to put pressure on the great vessels that return blood to the heart which compromises cardiac output and general circulation, throwing your dog into shock.
The ”body” of the stomach starts floating upward and flips over, resulting in a twisted stomach. All the issues mentioned above are compounded and accelerates the speed of progression of this condition. Without emergency surgical intervention, dogs with GDV die s painful death from cardiovascular shock and septic peritonitis from stomach devitalization and/or rupture. This can happen within hours.
BE AWARE of the SIGNS:
Bloating dogs usually appear uncomfortable, distressed
They are relentless and may pace
Drooling and panting are common
Bellies sometimes look distended
Dog may react painfully to pressure placed on left flank
Frequent and unproductive trying to vomit
Get to a vet hospital as soon as suspicion arises. There is no time to waste! Early treatment can prevent twisting of the stomach.
- antibiotics, medication for pain, IV fluids, abdominal x-rays, decompression of the stomach
- cardiovascular status is stabilized
- surgery, if the stomach was twisted, it is repositioned then sutured or tacked to the body wall to prevent reoccurrence. If it didn’t twist, it is highly recommended because future risk is high.
- Post-op care is intensive. Your dog needs 24-72 hours to make sure no complications arise such as infection, sepsis, clotting and bleeding and abnormal heart rhythms
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