Although few conditions can kill a dog as quickly as bloat, many pet owners remain unaware of its dangers, and don’t know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of bloat in dogs. Knowing the signs of bloat, as well as your emergency care options, is critical in protecting your dog from this serious, and often deadly, condition.
Bloat, also known as gastric dilation volvulus (GDV) occurs when gas and fluid build up in the stomach, causing it to distend and twist along its axis. This twisting (also called torsion) can cut the stomach off from the esophagus and duodenum.
If left untreated, the torsion and gastric distension lead to a cutting off of the blood supply to the stomach and spleen, causing cell death. A dog with bloat may die within as little as a few hours.
Recognizing Bloat In Dogs
Time is of the essence when it comes to bloat, and getting your dog to a veterinary hospital is top priority. Recognizing the early signs of bloat can mean the difference between life and death for your dog. If your dog is experiencing any of the following symptoms, he or she should be examined right away:
- Restlessness/seems uncomfortable
- Distended abdominal area
- Attempts to vomit or belch unsuccessfully
- Excessive drooling
- Looking at stomach
- Reacting with pain when abdominal area is touched
Any dog is a candidate for bloat, but large, deep-chested breeds such as the Great Dane, St. Bernard, and Weimaraner, are at increased risk, so owners of these breeds should pay particular attention.
Prevention of Bloat
Veterinarians aren’t sure what the exact cause of bloat in dogs is, but we agree that there are certain steps pet owners can take to lower the risk, including:
- Making sure your dog avoids strenuous exercise right before or right after meals (try to wait at least an hour)
- Keeping your dog from eating too much or too quickly
- Keeping your dog from drinking large amounts of water in one sitting
Bloat in dogs is a life-threatening emergency. If you suspect your dog is suffering from bloat, contact us or bring him or her in immediately. Surgery is needed to correct bloat, but if caught early enough a dog’s prognosis is good.
Don’t hesitate to contact your team at Summeridge Animal Clinic with any further questions.