Sadly bloat in dogs is a very common and often a dangerous emergency. However, fortunately you can prevent it from occurring.
Image Courtesy: dogsaholic.com
What is Bloat in Dogs?
Bloat or GDV (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus) is a condition in which the dog’s stomach expands within a short time with gas and fluid, and then rotates over itself, thereby twisting off both tips of the stomach. The gas and fluid then begin to ferment, pressure is developed and there is a cut off of blood supply to the stomach, eventually resulting in the death of a part or the entire stomach.
Further this starts loads of other issues that can result in death of the animal in just a few hours if left unattended. Even if an emergency treatment is given, 50% of dogs die if their stomach is twisted.
Breeds Susceptible to Bloat
Some dog breeds have a higher tendency to have bloat than others. Usually those with a larger chest are more susceptible. These include:
- Standard Poodles
- Blood Hounds
- Great Danes
- Irish Wolfhounds
- German Shepherds
- Doberman Pinschers
- Basset Hound
- Great Pyrenees
- St Bernard
- Labrador Retriever
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Old English Sheepdog
Symptoms of Bloat
Bloat occurs very abruptly and more in the middle-aged or older dogs. Usually the dog may just have eaten a large meal, drunk a huge quantity of water or been vigorously exercising before or after eating when the initial symptoms of bloat are seen.
Symptoms may include drooling abnormally and trying to be sick (but being unable to vomit). There will be tiredness and swollen or tight stomach. Your dog will seem uncomfortable or in pain and may whine, groan or grunt, especially if his stomach is touched or pressed. He may pace and become restless.
If the problem persists, your dog may go into a shock, have a fast heart rate, pale tongue and gums, weak pulse anddifficulty in breathing, and may eventually collapse. If you get even a slight suspicion of bloat, give Gordon Vet Hospital a call today and take the dog to them. If his stomach is twisted, the only option is emergency surgery.
Image Courtesy: dogworld.co.uk
Prevention of Bloat Without Surgery
Unluckily, there is no clinically proven cause for bloatin dogs. A debate goes on in the industry about heredity, stress, temperament and a lot of other factors. You can do some things to prevent the bloat in your dog like:
- Feeding a few times a day instead of one big meal
- Slowing down a rapid eater (special bowls are available to reduce the speed of eating)
- Avoid feeding from an elevated feeding station or bowl
- Avoid feeding dry food (make sure that biscuits are soaked first)
- Not allowing the dog to drink excessive amount of water at a time
- Avoid heavy exercising just before or after eating
Prevention of Bloat – Preventative Gastropexy
If your pet belongs to a breed that is more susceptible to bloating, has a history of bloating or a close family member that had bloat, it is advisable to perform preventative surgery. Gastropexy is a surgery in which the side of the stomach is stitched to the abdominal wall which prevents twisting of stomach.
This surgery is performed on a healthy dog before he undergoes a bloating incident. It’s not an emergency procedure.
Until recently, gastropexy was a complicated surgery. But now with the option of laparoscopic gastropexy, which is minimally invasive, the procedure has become much easier. It is faster and has better results too and can be done with full range of services in North Ryde with Gordon Vet for example.
When to Perform Preventative Gastropexy?
Most dogs are operated with laparoscopic gastropexy just at the time of being spayed. However, in case of an older animal at risk, a standalone procedure can also be done.