Most dog owners love their dogs just as much as their human family, sometimes, even more, depending on the day. We make sure they get the best kibble, lots of treats, and, admit it, you snuggle with them on the couch even when they’re not supposed to be up there.
Unlike our human family, dogs cannot tell us when they’re feeling bad and why. For that reason, we need to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of conditions that are medical emergencies. One of those emergencies is called bloat, and, if not treated quickly, it can be deadly.
Read on to learn about bloat in dogs.
Recognizing an Emergency: Signs and Symptoms of Bloat in Dogs
What Is Bloat?
Bloat or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) complex occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with air and stops the blood in the hind legs and abdomen from getting back to his heart. This reduces the working amount of blood in the dog and sends him into shock.
In severe cases, the stomach flips along with the spleen and pancreas, which cuts off blood flow to the organs. This causes the pancreas to produce hormones that stop the dog’s heart. The production of these hormones can kill a dog even after you think you’re out of the woods.
This means that even mild cases of bloat are life-threatening.
What Are the Symptoms?
There are some fairly recognizable symptoms of bloat that should alert you to it. Your dog’s abdomen will be distended and painful, and he may be looking at or grooming his stomach excessively. Dogs experiencing bloat may act restless and anxious, too, so watch out for things like drooling or pacing.
Other symptoms include unproductive retching and stretching with his rear end up. As it gets worse, your dog may be short of breath and have a rapid heartbeat and pale gums.
If you think that your dog might be suffering from bloat, then it is imperative that you get him to a vet like Blais Veterinary Hospital & Clinic as soon as possible. If your regular vet isn’t open and doesn’t have an emergency line, then you need to get your dog to an emergency vet. The longer you wait, the worse the potential outcome.
How Can I Prevent Bloat in Dogs?
Veterinarians don’t know what exactly causes bloat, but there are some steps you can take to reduce your dog’s chances of getting it.
Do not feed your dog from a raised food bowl. Divide their meals into smaller ones and don’t allow them to free feed. Try slowing your dog down when he eats and, more importantly, do not allow your dog to run and play for about an hour after he eats.
Bloat is possible in all dogs, but there are certain breeds that are much more likely to suffer from it. Deep-chested breeds like Basset Hounds and Boxers are particularly susceptible. Great Danes, Irish Setters, Weimaraners, and St. Bernards have the highest risk.
In dogs like Great Danes that have a significant risk for bloat, your veterinarian may recommend that your dog have a preventative procedure called a gastropexy done. A gastropexy tacks your dog’s stomach to the abdominal wall, preventing it from flipping.
This procedure is usually done laparoscopically and is a few hundred dollars more when your dog is getting spayed or neutered. The cost of a gastropexy is significantly less than emergency surgery and is therefore well worth the cost in prone breeds.
Love Your Furry and Human Family!
Knowing the symptoms of bloat in dogs can help keep your dog in your family for years to come. Taking steps to prevent bloat is even better. Never let them run after eating or drinking a lot and, if possible, slow down their eating or feed them smaller meals throughout the day.
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