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Bloat And Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

 by jaime on 21 Aug 2014 |
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Bloat is when a dog's stomach fills with fluid, air or food. The bloated stomach then puts pressure on other organs, cause difficulty breathing and decreases the blood supply to a dog's vital organs.

However bloat is also often commonly referred to another condition, gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). It's a life-threatening condition, where the stomach is rotated and twisted and needs immediate veterinary attention. Unfortunately, many dogs die because of this, even with medical intervention.

Symptoms of Bloat / GDV

  • Weakness
  • Pale gums
  • Shortness of breath
  • Distended abdomen
  • Attempting to vomit or retching without bringing anything up.
  • Excessive salivation
  • Cold body temperature
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Collapse

Causes

While there is no exact cause for GDV, bloat is thought to be caused by certain triggers including: overeating or drinking, eating one large meal per day, eating too quickly, a diet of dry-food only, excessive exercise after meals, stress or trauma.

Treatment

If your dog has bloat, your veterinarian will more than likely take an X-ray of the area and may try to relieve the stomach of gas and fluids by placing a tube to the stomach through the oesophagus.

If your dog has GDV, emergency surgery will be required. It's quite high risk, with many complications that could possibly occur during or post surgery. Some vets might even attach a dog's stomach to the side of the abdominal cavity to prevent it happening again.

Prevention

  • Make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight
  • Feed your dog regular, small meals throughout the day.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise before and after meals
  • Maintain normal water consumption
  • If recommended by your vet, add canned food to your dog's diet.

High-risk breeds

All breeds of dogs are able to get bloat, however there are some breeds of dogs that are more prone to developing GDV. Dogs with long chests, such as Irish setters, German shepherds, basset hounds and boxers are types of dogs that have a higher predisposition to developing GDV.

Some owners actually get a procedure performed called a prophylactic gastropexy surgery, essentially fixing the stomach into place.
 

If you think your dog has bloat, take them to the vet immediately – any delays can have a fatal outcome, especially if your dog has GDV rather than bloat.

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