Dec 05 2014


You might have heard the term before…a friend who had a dog that succumbed to bloat – but you may not quite understand just what it is, or how it happens.
Bloat, also referred to as ‘gastric dilation-volvulus’ and/or ‘gastric torsion’, is a very serious condition. It is actually the number one cause of death for some large and giant breeds. It can be caused by several things. Most often, it happens when the stomach gets full of swallowed air –or food, or water. It can occur without the ‘torsion’, or twisting, but, during bloat the stomach enlarges and can actually twist totally around within its attachments at the esophagus and the duodenum. When this happens, it can totally obstruct the stomach’s ability to empty. If it does twist, the dog can’t belch or vomit to relieve the condition.
When bloating and/or torsion (twisting) occur, the blood supply to the stomach is severely reduced which can actually cause the death of the stomach. This death releases toxins and bacteria into the blood stream, which can further damage other organs – as well as compromise heart function…all of which can lead to death. It is estimated that 30% of dogs that develop bloat will die or have to be euthanized.

The most common breeds that are susceptible to bloat are deep-chested, large and giant breed dogs, such as Great Dane’s, Saint Bernard’s and Doberman Pinschers. It can occur in other smaller breeds, but is very rare. Research shows that pure-bred dogs are at a higher risk.
Bloat often occurs with eating or drinking large amounts of food before or after exercise. One risk factor is feeding dogs large amounts of food only once a day, as opposed to smaller amounts twice a day. When a dog is fed once a day, they may tend to wolf down their food very quickly, sucking in a good amount of air. When they exercise and come in and drink copious amounts of water, the same thing can happen. There is speculation that feeding just a dry food diet can be a contributing factor.

Unproductive vomiting
Excessive Drooling
Large, bloated abdomen
Extreme restlessness
Obvious pain and discomfort that doesn’t go away
If you even suspect that your dog is suffering from bloat, there is no time to waste. They need to be taken to the veterinarian or the emergency room immediately. Do not try home remedies unless you are advised to by your veterinarian. More importantly, DO NOT WAIT. Fast treatment is imperative.

Many years ago people with large and giant breeds were advised to feed their dogs in raised dishes…apparently, now this is no longer the advice. Some other things you can do to help prevent bloat in your large breed puppy or adult are:

1. Do not let your puppy or adult dog play too long or too much and then feed them. They need to have a cooling off period, or they may be so excited they just gobble their food down too quickly. This is especially true during the hot summer months.

2. If you have a puppy or dog that wolfs down their food like it’s going out of style, you can purchase a bowl where the center is raised, and the food poured in around it…this way they have to eat more slowly. You can also put a bowl or ball in their bowl, so they have to eat around it, which slows them down. If you see they are still eating too quickly, take their food up and give it to them in much smaller amounts.

3. After your puppy or adult dog eats, keep them in the house for an hour or so, before letting them out to play. And when you do let them out, keep an eye out for symptoms.

4. Some experts believe that adding canned food to the diet may help.

5. Feed your dog at least twice a day – this allows you to give them smaller portions, and they won’t be so inclined to wolf it down. It’s better to feed twice a day anyway, to help prevent weight gain. Twenty-four hours is a long time to go between meals.

6. If you have more than one dog, feed them separately so they aren’t so inclined to wolf down their food to go after the other food.

If you have a breed that might be susceptible to bloat, please talk to one of the doctors at Crossroads to see if you can make some changes or adjustments in your routine to help prevent bloat.

drkclark | Uncategorized

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