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Bloat -- what you need to know

Posted by Halifax Veterinary Hospital Blogging Team on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 @ 11:31 AM

dog-owners.jpgWhen you buy a dog, it's a life-long commitment. You have to make sure they are fed properly, taken to the veterinarian many times during their lives, make sure they get walked, etc.

One of the topics we are going to discuss today is bloat or Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). This is an extremely serious situation and should be considered life-threatening. There are no natural or home remedies for bloat so if your dog is having symptoms related to this disease - which we will be going through below, you need to see your Veterinarian ASAP.

Dogs with bloat can die within several hours so time is of the essence. Even when a dog gets treatment there is still a chance that they may not survive.

With bloat, for a number of different reasons, your dog's stomach can fill up with air and put extra pressure on the other organs in the dog's body. It can also cause the stomach to rotate onto itself and pinch off the blood supply. Once this happens the blood supply is cut off and the stomach begins to die.

The pressure makes it difficult for the dog to breath and it can also compress larger veins in the abdomen which can prevent blood from returning to the heart.

Breeds That GDV Is More Common In

As with a lot of other health issues and diseases, GDV is more common in some breeds than it is in others.

Great Danes have a 4.1 risk ratio
German Shepherds have a 4.1
Golden Retrievers have a 1.2
Mini Poodles have a 0.3
etc.

GDV tends to be much more common in larger dogs than smaller dogs, hence the numbers above.

It's a good idea to not only talk to your veterinarian about GDV but also talk to them about your specific breed.

Dogs also over the age of 7, who are male, who are fed less than 1 times a day are also more at risk to get GDV than dogs who are not.

Signs Of Bloat In Dogs

Some of the symptoms you'll want to look for in your dog include:

- Swollen or Protruding Belly
- Non-Productive Vomiting
- Retching
- Abdominal Pain
- Rapid Shallow Breathing

Prevention Of Bloat In Dogs

While getting care for your dog after the fact can keep GDV from coming back later on in the dog's life, most vets agree that having a surgery called gastropexy, while they are young, is the best way to keep dog bloat away entirely. A gastropexy can be done on both male and female dogs and it can be done at the same time as they are being spayed or neutered.

In gastropexy, the dog's stomach will be sutured and attached to the abdominal wall or the diaphragm and this is what will keep the dog's stomach from flipping over on itself.

For most dog lovers and owners, that stat alone is worth getting the gastropexy.

Other Preventative Measures:

- Owners should be aware that they have a dog breed who is more susceptible to GDV.

- Dogs who are more susceptible should be fed 2-3 times a day, rather than 1 time a day.

- Water should always be available, however, it should be limited after the dog is done eating.

- While exercise is great for any dog, dogs that have a higher chance of getting GDV should not exercise vigorously, be too excited or stressed out 1-2 hours before and 1-2 hours after a meal.

According to studies, dogs that have the gastropexy have a small 4.3% chance of getting GDV in the future versus the 54.5% who can get it in the future who have NOT gotten gastropexy.

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