The condition commonly called bloat is also known as twisted stomach and medically known as gastric dilatation volvulus. GDV is a deadly medical condition that requires immediate veterinary attention. Deep-chested and large-breed dogs, particularly senior and underweight dogs, are susceptible to this ailment.
Causes of Bloat
Bloat occurs when a dog ingests food too quickly, causing the stomach to turn or twist in such a manner that it inhibits blood flow. The stomach quickly fills with gas while the digestive process continues, leading to severe and uncomfortable swelling. If immediate medical intervention is not taken to reposition the stomach and resume blood flow, it can impact other organ systems, including the heart, and cam be deadly, quickly, for your pet.
Deep-chested dogs like Doberman pinschers, standard poodles, Great Danes, German shepherds and Irish setters are more susceptible to bloat because of their narrow, elongated chests. Fast action to correct the twisted stomach is vital to ensuring the dog’s health and recovery. In most cases, a vet will perform emergency surgery to untwist the stomach. He may simultaneously perform a procedure called gastropexy that will help prevent against an occurrence of bloat in the future.
Signs of Bloat
Bloat will occur immediately after eating, with the condition getting progressively worse if left untreated. Your dog may attempt to burp, or he may look like he's trying to throw up, but with no productive results. In a deep-chested dog, you may see visible evidence of the stomach’s distortion. Your dog will likely be uncomfortable, possibly even shaking or shivering -- these are the initial signs that he could be going into shock. Dogs who receive immediate care and treatment for bloat have an 80 percent survival rate.
If you have a large, deep-chested dog, give him several small meals each day rather than one large feeding. Spread his food on a cookie tray so he has to eat it slowly. Don't allow him to exercise vigorously for at least an hour after eating so his food first can properly digest. If your dog is underweight, talk to your vet about a plan for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight to make him less susceptible to twisted stomach.
- Michigan State University: Gastric Dilatation/Volvulus
- University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine: Bloat or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)
- Healthy Pets: These Symptoms Could Mean a Fatal Stomach Rupture - Act FAST
- University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine: Bloat: A Deadly Disorder
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.