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Symptoms and Care for Canine Bloat

A serious condition that is more prevalent in the larger breed of dog is bloat, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Having witnessed this situation in our beloved Golden Retriever, I can attest to the severity of bloat if left unattended. If you note your dog exhibiting such extreme symptoms such as panic, restlessness and unproductive attempts to vomit, call your veterinarian immediately and seek medical attention. This is not a laughing matter and can be deadly for your beloved dog.

Even though this condition normally affects the larger breed of dog, it can be a concern with smaller dogs and deep-chested dog breeds as well. In essence, when a dog goes through the distress of bloat, it simply means that the stomach twists and stops the normal blood supply, leading to tissue death. The dead tissue leads to a release of toxins in the body, causing fatality and death in your dog if left untreated.

With the stomach twisted, the esophagus is crimped as well, meaning that, even though your dog tries to vomit, it is impossible. The abdomen will distend and expand drastically, causing restlessness in your dog. Bloat or GDV is a very painful condition.

Aside from the larger breeds being more prone to bloat and GDV, males tend to be more at risk than females. Slender dogs are less apt to the condition because an overweight animal may have excess fat in the space around the abdomen, keeping it from twisting. However, this is not a good reason to overfeed your pet. Sometimes the overfeeding can lead to the bloat as well. This is the reason why if you still have no experience in taking good care of your pet who has canine bloat, to is advisable to check some reliable information online first like this page. This will serve as your guide in caring and dealing with your pet who has such health condition.

Dogs that are genetically predisposed as well as geriatric dogs can be more at risk. Dogs that “absorb” their food too fast are also at very high risk for bloat. This is because the dog eats so quickly that a lot of air is swallowed as well. It is best to monitor your dog while eating. There are special bowls that can be purchased at your local pet supermarket in order to make feedings a little more challenging. As a result, your dog will eat more slowly and safely. Elevated bowls have been shown to actually increase the risk of bloat.

If you note any of the serious symptoms listed above and you suspect your dog may have bloat, call your vet or emergency vet immediately. It is very common for this condition to happen more during evening hours when most vets are closed. Always have an emergency number on hand for such situations. It is definitely a matter of life and death for your dog. Once you get to the vet’s office, treatment may include intravenous fluids for the healing of shock, while a stomach tube or hypodermic needle will be inserted in the side of the abdomen in order to decompress it and relieve pressure. Surgery for a gastropexy may be necessary to secure the stomach to the body wall in order to prevent a repeat of bloat. If any of the stomach was damaged due to lack of a blood supply, the damaged tissue will be removed at this point.

This condition of bloat or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) may not always be prevented but there are steps that you can take to minimize the chances that your dog will suffer from it.

Feed your dog, as prescribed, in a special bowl in order to stop your dog from gulping the food (and unwanted air) so quickly. Also feed your dog in 2 – 3 meals a day rather than once.

Have your dog checked more regularly by your vet if yours is one of the breeds more prone to this condition.

Provide a food with high protein as a first ingredient, and avoid those with high fat content. Speak to your vet about a choice food for your particular dog’s needs.

When adopting a dog, consider getting the history of its family bloodlines and any past bloat.

For dogs that are more susceptible, avoid excess water, exercise, stress and other excitement immediately following meal times. A nice leisurely slow walk is fine, as well as a small drink. I could not imagine eating a meal without having anything to drink. The idea is to monitor your dog to avoid gulping air.

At home care may also include administration of medications prescribed by your Vet for up to ten days following surgery and/or veterinary treatment. Keep a log of your dog’s activity level, appetite and overall interest while recuperating at home. Provide your dog with a quiet warm area in the home where you can monitor your dog back to health. A follow-up vet appointment will probably be necessary in seven to ten days to be sure your dog is on the road to complete health.

Jaime
Jaime London is a writer, contributor, editor and a photographer. He started his career as an editorial assistant in a publishing company in Chicago in 2009.