You know that feeling when you have some gas in your stomach? When you feel bloated?
We’ve all experienced it at least once.
However, for dogs, this is a very dangerous situation.
It’s a medical condition where the stomach gets filled with gas, causing it to expand. Therefore putting pressure on itself and other organs.
In some cases, the stomach can rotate around its own axle, this is called gastric dilation volvulus. The twist cuts the blood supply to and from the stomach. This causes your dog going into shock and is a life threatening situation.
Gastric dilation and gastric dilation volvulus are most frequently present in deep chested and large to giant dogs. Especially breeds like German Shepherds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds are prone to this condition.
For dogs who are prone to this condition, it is frequently recommended to have a prophylactic surgical procedure called “Gastropexy”.
So, what causes bloat in dogs? It's kind of a mystery. Researchers have yet to discover the exact reason for this condition. However, certain actions and/or conditions are suspected to induce bloat.
The most suspected reasons are:
In some cases it is expected to be a genetic condition
Exercise immediately after a meal
Eating too much in one time
Eating too fast
This condition usually comes quite fast, and the first warning signs come often within a few minutes.
The dog tries to vomit, but nothing is coming out
You can see the dog is in pain
The belly looks swollen
As the situation gets worse, the following clinical signs may occur:
The pulse in the hindlimbs cannot be detected
Increased heart rate
Very pale gums
Bloat requires professional help. You must go to the vet immediately.
In order to distinguish the gastric dilation from gastric dilation volvulus, the vet needs to take x-rays. If the stomach has turned, immediate surgery is required after stabilizing shock.
Unfortunately, the only other option is euthanasia.
There is no medication to cure this condition.
Since there is nothing you can do, except from rushing to the vet, you should be informed of what not to do.
First of all, don’t try to relieve the pressure yourself. This can do more damage!
Secondly, don’t try to feed anything to the dog. No food and no water.
The specific cause or causes of bloat are still unknown. However, it’s suspected that elevated feeding increases the likelihood for this condition. Therefore, veterinarians recommend small meals, which are fed at ground level.
Especially bigger dog breeds are more prone to bloat.
The prophylactic surgery of gastropexy is widely recommended. It can be done together with a spay or other abdominal surgery. It can as well be done as an elective surgery.
Generally speaking, it's the large and giant breed dog that are more prone to this condition. Dogs breeds such as Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds are known for it, so if you have a similar dog breed you should ask your vet for a consultation.
Thank you for staying with me, I hope you've learned some useful information.
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