Updated on April 7, 2015
The Dangers of Dog Bloat
Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), or bloat, as it is commonly known, is a life-threatening emergency that is a particular threat for some dog breeds. Bloat is a stomach distention condition caused by a build-up of gas. Basically, the stomach fills with gas that causes it to flip and twist major blood vessels, cutting off blood flow. Bloat is most commonly found in large-breed, deep-chested dogs because their stomachs can move freely.
The Dangers of GDV to Your Pet
In addition to the loss of blood to the stomach, blood-flow to the spleen can also be comprised in this condition. The most common signs and symptoms of bloat to watch for are signs of abdominal pain, enlarged abdomen, lethargy, and even attempted “retching.”
Dogs suffering from GDV do not vomit, so you may notice a hunched-over appearance where the victim dog retches and tries to throw up, but nothing comes out. If your dog is a large breed one and it has such symptoms, you should contact a veterinarian immediately. In a dog bloat emergency, time is absolutely essential to survival. If the spleen and stomach stay twisted for too long without proper supply of blood, the prognosis will become worse and possibility of death increases.
Your vet may address a bloat emergency with surgery. After the dog’s stomach has been decompressed and returned to its normal anatomic position, the surgery will be used to suture or “tack” the stomach to the abdominal wall. This is mainly to prevent the stomach from ever flipping again. This surgical procedure is usually successful provided that the tack heals properly to prevent an extra GDV episode. If you have a predisposed breed, you may have it tacked as one of the preventative measures at a relatively young age.
Usually, dogs suffering from GDV are septicemic – which means they have bacteria in their blood streams – and they usually require hospitalization after surgery where they will be monitored and provided with broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Ventricular arrhythmia is yet another complication that comes with the dangers of dog bloat. This is an abnormality of the heart’s electrical conduction system. It is also a sequel of sepsis which is a bacterial in the dog’s blood, causing the heart inflammation. These particular arrhythmias can sometimes be fatal and very serious after surgery. It is therefore important for every dog with a bloat to be carefully monitored, especially after surgery for this condition.
According to the statistics, the most common breeds with high risks of the dangers of dog bloat include the St. Bernard, the Great Dane, and Weimaraner. If you own of these breeds of a dog, it is very important and necessary to take some preventative measures. It is a good idea to know how to identify warning signs and symptoms of this condition.
Having a veterinarian checking or administering your pet with the right vaccine when necessary is a good thing to do as well. You should also understand that predisposed breed of dogs are fed smaller amounts of water and food more often instead of large meals and keep your pet quiet sometime after eating.
Remember, bloat is a serious condition, which can be deadly to your pet. Always respond immediately as soon as possible since the dangers of dog bloat are relatively high.