What is Canine Bloat?
Bloat refers to the bloating of the stomach.
Essentially it is a build up of gas in the stomach
which is unable to be released. Bloat with Gastric
Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) occurs when the stomach
fills with gas and twists 180 to 360 degrees on it's
axis between the esophagus and duodenum or the
entrance and exit parts of the stomach. Bloat is a
very serious problem in large breed dogs. When
combined with the complications of GDV, bloat is a
leading cause of death of dogs, second only to
The exact cause of bloat is still unknown.
Generally, it is believed that excessive eating and
drinking of water followed by exercise can cause
bloat. It is thought that exercise causes food or
fluid in the stomach to cause a build up of gas. The
severity of the conditions is more serious when the
stomach twists upon itself within the abdomen in a
clockwise rotation causing the inlet and outlet of
the stomach as well as blood vessels which supply
the stomach to become constricted at both ends. As a
result, the constriction will cause the stomach
tissue to die. In a very short time, the stomach
becomes restricted of nutrients and oxygen. If not
treated, the dog can die.
What Are the Symptoms of Canine Bloat?
- Anxious, restless
- Distended abdomen
- Attempting to vomit
- Excessive drooling
- Pale gums
- Increase in heart rate.
- Difficult breathing
What Causes Bloat?
The stomach becomes filled with gas and because of
several possible factors; the dog is unable to
relieve the pressure. Bloat, with GDV, is when the
stomach goes in to a Atwist.@ This closes both the
esophagus and pylorus, preventing the dog from
relieving the gas pressure which can quickly build
up after a large meal. This condition is extremely
fatal, causing shock, coma and eventually death.
Like many other conditions which affect our dogs,
the actual cause of bloat is still unknown. Several
factor seem to contribute to a dogs chances of
- Eating or drinking too fast.
- Exercise before and immediately after eating
- Having a large deep chest
- Elevated food bowls
Are All Dogs At Risk Cannine Bloat?
Canine bloat and GDV usually only effects large
breed dogs, but smaller dogs are still susceptible..
It is thought that some lines of breeds are
genetically at a higher risk. Though bloat can occur
in puppies, it is a condition which usually occurs
in adult dogs. Furthermore, male dogs are more
likely to suffer from bloat than female dogs. Here
is a list of some breeds that have a higher chance
of being effected by bloat and GDV.
- German Shepherd
- Great Dane
- Standard Poodle
- Great Pyrenees
- Irish Setter
- Old English Sheepdog
- Golden Retriever
- Irish Wolfhound
- St. Bernards
- Labrador Retriever
What Is the Treatment of Dog Bloat?
Canine bloat is a very serious problem. If you
suspect your dog of having bloat, contact your vet
immediately. Every second counts! If caught and
diagnosed quick enough, initial treatment will
involve inserting a tube or tochar in to the stomach
wall to remove the gas. If necessary, the vet will
then operate, attempting to untwist the stomach.
Secondary treatment will involve treating shock,
dehydration, fatigue, and other complications
resulting from the distension of the stomach.
Is There Any Way To Prevent Dog Bloat?
Prevention of bloat can be difficult. Because there
are so many possible causes for this condition,
prevention must be examined on an individual basis.
If you have a dog that is at risk there are a couple
of things that you can do to decrease the chances of
this fatal condition. Since bloat is believed to be
connected with genetics and hereditary, these
preventive measures can only decrease the chances of
- Do not overfeed. Feed 2-3 small meals a day.
- Do not use elevated food bowls
- Do not allow your dog to drink large amounts of
water after eating.
- Add an enzyme product to your dogs food
- Keep emergency veterinary contact handy
- Gastropexy surgery