What Is Dog Bloat?
Decreased blood flow to their heart and stomach lining
A tear in the wall of their stomach
A harder time breathing
In some cases, the dog's stomach will rotate or twist, a condition that vets call gastric dilatation volvulus (GSV). It traps blood in the stomach and blocks it from returning to the heart and other areas of the body. Additionally, after a short period of time the pressure in the stomach increases to dangerous levels.This can send your dog into shock.
Bloat from GSV usually comes on very quickly. At first, your dog may show signs that their stomach hurts. They may:
Have a swollen stomach
Look at their stomach
Try to vomit, but nothing comes up
Stretch with their front half down and rear end up
As the condition gets worse, they may:
Have pale gums
Have a rapid heartbeat
Be short of breath
If you think your pet has bloat, get them to a clinic right away. If dogs don't get treatment in time, the condition can be fatal.
It is unsure what exactly causes bloat, but there are some things that raise a dog's risk for it, including:
Eating from a raised food bowl
Having one large meal a day
A lot of running or playing after they eat
Other dogs they are related to have had bloat
Eating or drinking too much
Any dog can have bloat, but it's much more common in deep-chested, large breeds, like Akitas, Boxers, Basset Hounds, and German Shepherds. Some are at a higher risk than others, including Great Danes, Gordon Setters, Irish Setters, Weimaraners, and St. Bernards.
- Feed smaller amounts more frequently.
- Ensure that your dog takes time to digest their food before playing.
- Introduce dogs to potentially stressful situations properly. If kenneling your furry family member, make sure they are comfortable in the new environment.
- Put food bags in locked containers or in areas where your pets can’t reach.
After the Doctor has seen your pet, they can decide the best course of action. Treatment may include but not be limited to:
- Orogastric Tube: This is a tube that goes in your dog’s mouth and passes into the stomach. This will help to relieve some of the pressure which will also help restore some of the blood supply that was otherwise compromised. An alternative to this is to use a trocar, which will poke a hole directly into the stomach to release air more quickly that placing an orogastric tube.
- X-rays: This will help the Veterinarian determine whether or not he is dealing with bloat or GDV. If GDV, he will need to bring your dog into surgery to twist the stomach back into place.
- IV fluids: Fluids will help the blood flow or with blood pressure. The added benefit of placing a catheter for fluids is that access into the vein is established just in case the doctor needs to give drugs to help stabilize your furry family member as quickly as possible.
- +/- Surgery: If the stomach has twisted, a doctor will need to perform surgery to deflate the stomach and return it into the proper position again. Because of the severity of this situation, surgery is riskier than for health patients. Thankfully Veterinarians and Registered Veterinary Technicians are highly skilled and trained to ensure that your dog is safe under anesthesia. After the stomach has been put back into place, the doctor will likely place some stitches to attach the stomach to the abdominal wall in order to prevent it from occurring again. Unfortunately, once a stomach has twisted once, the chances of it happening again are increased. At this time, the DVM will also check to see if the condition has damaged any other parts of their body.
- Hospitalization: Due to the severity of this condition, the Doctor will likely recommend to have your dog or cat stay in hospital for a couple days to make sure that they are completely stable before returning home.
If you have further questions or believe your pet may be suffering from bloat/GDV, please contact us immediately.
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