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bloat in dogs

Bloat – What You Know Can Save Your Dog’s Life

If you’d like to know about a potentially deadly, and very preventable condition, read on. Bloat in dogs is not uncommon. The proper term is gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). It can happen to any dog, and most often occurs in larger dogs.

What is Bloat (GDV)?

GDV occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid and subsequently twists.  GDV develops without warning and can progress quickly.  It is always an emergency.

Stomach distension alone is referred to as a “simple bloat”, or dilatation. This simple bloating can occur on its own and may resolve on its own. The problem is that the issue can progress to GDV quickly and at any time.

Bloat strikes males more than females, and if not treated, can kill within hours. 

Signs of Bloat in Dogs

  • Enlarged / distended abdomen
  • Showing discomfort
  • Pacing
  • Whining
  • Attempts to throw up
  • Restlessness
  • Painful Abdomen
  • Overall Look of Distress
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Panting or Rapid Breathing
  • Collapse/Inability to Stand

Dangers of Extreme Bloat

  • Pressure on heart, lungs
  • Reduce blood flow to heart, spleen
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Stomach burst
  • Peritonitis
  • Stomach torsion, “twisted stomach”

There is no direct cause and effect with this problem, such as a bacteria or virus that a vet can treat with antibiotics or vaccinate against. Bloat is usually the result of a combination of factors that might have no effect on most dogs, but can bring about a life-threatening situation in others. Owner awareness of the problem is the first step in preventing its occurrence.

What to Do In Case of Signs of Bloat

Not every case is extreme, and the problem may go away, but if it does not, or gets worse, it becomes a medical emergency.  Contact your veterinarian immediately if swelling starts, continues or worsens.  Your vet can insert a tube into the stomach to relieve the pressure, however, you will have to get your dog to the vet quickly.

Bloat Prevention

  • Feed your dog smaller meals
  • Monitor your dogs drinking for smaller amounts of water at a time
  • No vigorous play right after meals
  • Reduce dog’s overall stress

To learn additional details about bloat and how it can affect your precious pup, read this article from a New York veterinary medical center.