Saturday, December 26, 2009

Know Your Dog's Enemies Part I: Bloat

I think the way I would rate severity of health emergencies is by two criteria:
  1. How likely is it to kill my dog
  2. How fast it might kill my dog
Going by these criteria, bloat is right up there on top of the list. It kills readily and it kills fast. And yet not many people know about it or understand this risk.

My friend's neighbor's dog is gone. Healthy young Rottweiler, one day he's there and the next day he's not.

I would urge you to learn about this health risk, particularly if you have a deep-chested breed. Know what can cause bloat and know the symptoms. Take preventive measures when feeding, watering and exercising your dog.

Bloat in dogs is very different from what we commonly refer to as bloat in humans. It is a very dangerous, life-threatening condition.

Simplified, excessive amounts of food, water, gas, or other substances in the stomach,  expand it way beyond its normal size. This on its own is very painful. The worst part about bloat, however, is that a distended stomach, or one that has been stretched in the past, will often twist from its normal position. This restricts the stomach's blood supply and also obstructs the exit for the contents, which are now trapped with no way out. This triggers a chain of events that can lead to death within hours.

When a dog’s stomach becomes distended and twists on its axis, the condition is known as Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) in veterinary circles.

Main symptoms of bloat are
  • distended (swollen, enlarged) abdomen
  • retching (attempts to vomit but nothing coming out)
  • excessive salivating
  • other signs of pain and distress

There is plenty of good information about bloat in dogs out there. Here are some good resources. 

Please check out the above links, they have good detailed information on risk factors, preventative measures, and treatment.

Know your dog's enemies, know bloat.


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