Saturday, November 25, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Food Bloat versus GDV, Dangerous Meds, and more ...

Food Bloat in Dogs

Dr. Justine Lee

Bag of food? What bag of food? It must have been the Russians.

Bloat is bloat is bloat, right? Now, bloat is not GDV, gastric dilatation-volvulus, which is a dire emergency. It's just the distention, without the twist.

The upside with food bloat is that it has an apparent cause and it is therefore much easier to prevent. If your dog gets into the pantry and chows down half of a month's worth stash of dog food (or a large bin of charcoal biscuits as Bruin managed to do), their stomach is not going to be happy about that. Just like your stomach isn't happy after you stuffed yourself at turkey dinner. Usually, you won't require immediate medical attention and your dog might not either. However, could you tell the difference between food bloat and GDV?  The symptoms are mostly the same. Food bloat can actually lead to GDV as well as pancreatitis.

Even without the really scary stuff, your dog is likely to be in pain and might require IV fluids and careful monitoring. The best prevention is keeping food stash under lock and key, so this doesn't happen in the first place.

To learn about food bloat, read Dr. Lee's article.

Related articles:
Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV): What Did the Latest Study Reveal?
Gastric Dilatation-volvulus: RIP Barbie

NSAID Toxicity in Dogs and Cats – Beware of Ibuprofen!

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

If NSAIDs are commonly used for dogs, how are they toxic at the same time?

Veterinary NSAIDs, used properly, are generally safe for most dogs. While there are dogs who can fall deathly ill from just one or two pills, most tolerate it well. I am not a fan of NSAIDs and Jasmine could not have them--she was one of the dogs who reacted badly to them. However, I am ok using them short-term for post-surgical pain management, or when dealing with an injury.

Things that make NSAIDs unsafe include skipping blood work to make sure the dog is healthy enough to tolerate them, improper administration (NSAIDs have to be given with food, and some dogs might require a stomach protectant to go with it), mixing with medications NSAIDs don't get along with, and improper dosing.

With many things, toxicity is mostly in the amount. While a dog's body can deal well with a prescribed dose, getting into your stash and wolfing down a whole bottle is another story altogether. Overdose on NSAIDs can cause stomach ulceration, kidney or liver failure.

In his article, Dr. Byers did a great job explaining why NSAIDs can be toxic, what happens and what to do.

Dangerous Pet Medication Mixes to Avoid

Dr. Jennifer Coates/petMD

Medications that can be safe when given on their own can become a disaster when mixed. The two ways medications may not get along is either mutually lowering their effectiveness or increasing the chance of undesirable side effects.

Since I talked about NSAID toxicity just above, mixing NSAIDs and corticosteroids is one of the examples where you can run into serious gastrointestinal trouble. The risk of vomiting, diarrhea, and ulceration gets way higher when both of these drugs hit the same turf, even within a few days apart. When switching from one to the other, a "wash-out" period is recommended, making sure that one drug is entirely out of the system before the other is introduced.

Here is one you wouldn't think could ever cause trouble, an antacid. Cimetidine, to be specific. There is a long list of drugs that don't get along with this antacid, and the combination of the two can cause serious trouble such as over-doses and even seizures.

To learn more about potential drug interactions and how to prevent them, read Dr. Coates' article.

5 Things You Need to Know About Bloat (GDV) in Dogs

Dr. Andy Roark/Cone of Shame

Since we touched on the subject of DGV, please watch this video. Dr. Roark has done a great job explaining how dangerous this condition is. GDV is the mother of all emergencies. Know what it looks like and when you absolutely have to rush your dog to a vet immediately.


  1. Food bloat is very important to know about. Fortunately I have not had this experience - yet!

    1. Hopefully you never will. Bruin didn't get majorly sick from his treat bucket diving adventure but he could have.