Bloat is a life threatening condition for many dogs, though it’s most common in deep, narrow chested breeds. Bloat is the second-leading killer of dogs (behind cancer). Bloat can kill in less than an hour so time is of the essence; get to your veterinarian immediately!
Bloat is often swallowed air (though food or liquids may be present) and usually happens when there’s an abnormal accumulation of air, fluid or foam in the stomach. Stress has been linked to being a significant contributing factor in developing bloat. Bloat can occur with or without “volvulus” (a twisting of the stomach). As the stomach swells, it can rotate and twist at the esophagus (food tube) or at the duodenum (upper intestine). The twisted stomach traps the air, food or water ingested. Veins are constricted in the abdomen which can lead to low blood pressure, shock, and damage the internal organs. This all combined can quickly kill a dog.
- attempts to vomit (it doesn’t matter if the dog is successful)
- your dog doesn’t act like himself
- significant anxiety or restlessness
- “hunched up” appearance
- bloated abdomen
- off-color gums
- heavy salivating or drooling
- foamy mucus
BREEDS MOST AT RISK: Doberman Pinscher, Gordon setter, Great Dane, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Standard Poodle, Weimaraner
DIAGNOSIS: only x-rays can confirm a bloat diagnosis. Reducing pressure inside the stomach is vital.
TREATMENT: emergency therapy with fluids, corticosteroids, antibiotics or drugs related to heart arrhythmias. At the same time, surgery will be performed to rotate the stomach back and secure in its normal position.
PREVENTION: limit water consumption for an hour before or after each meal. Don’t let your dog drain his bowl; water should be consumed in moderate quantities. Do not allow rolling or any other exercise after meals. Give your dog small meals throughout the day.