If you’ve ever had to unbutton the top button of your pants after a big meal, you know about bloat. Dog bloat, however, is much worse, much quicker to strike and much more serious. In fact, if bloat emergencies aren’t caught early, it’s estimated that almost half of cases become fatal.
Dogs experience bloat when air (or liquid or food) fills their stomach rapidly and expands quicker than the body can process it. When the stomach expands at such a quick rate, it pushes against the organs and causes difficulty breathing and potentially organ failure.
Bloat, also called "twisted stomach” or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) in medical terms, can become serious in a matter of hours and should not be attempted to treat at home – seek veterinary care immediately.
What are the symptoms?
While the exact causes of bloat are still undetermined, veterinarians know that eating food quickly, only eating one large meal a day, drinking excess amounts of liquids, and exercising after eating are all triggers. If your dog is experiencing bloat, he or she is likely to have an enlarged stomach, drool, have trouble breathing or failed attempts to vomit. Should these symptoms arise, especially if they correlate with any of the activities above, call your veterinarian ASAP.
Is my dog susceptible?
All dogs are subject to bloat, but in our experience the larger breeds seem to have the most trouble with bloat. For example, Great Danes, Bullmastiffs, Dobermans, Newfoundlands and other larger breeds top the list, but any dog can become subject to this serious medical condition.
How is it treated?
When pet owners are education about the potentially dangerous situation and know to seek care immediately, bloat is treated by releasing gas from the stomach. If there is time, most veterinarians will try to take an X-Ray of the stomach first to confirm the diagnosis. From there, dogs are sedated and a tube is positioned down the throat to allow the excess air to leave the stomach, taking pressure off of the abdomen and vital organs.
If you think that your pet is experiencing bloat, please contact Mount Shasta Animal Hospital as soon as possible.
By feeding your pet a few smaller meals throughout the day, gauging how quickly meals are consumed and monitoring water intake, bloat can be prevented. However, in some cases, outside stimuli can be a culprit, so pet owners must always be on the lookout.