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Bloat (GDV)

Bloat, is also known as Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, GDV or Gastric Torsion, is a life-threatening disorder that most commonly occurs in large, deep-chested breeds like the doberman, Great Dane, Boxer, Saint Bernard, Basset Hound, German shepherd or a Weimaraner. Although it can occur in smaller breeds, these cases are very rare. Since up to a third of dogs diagnosed with GDV wont suvive, it's very important to know the causes and symptons in order to get your dog prompt veterinary care in the event of an episode of bloat. 

Causes

Bloat occurs when gas can;t escape the stomach, leading to a distended abdomen. The stomach's normal contrations will stop and the entire stomach organ will rotate insude your dogs abdomen. This cuts off blood and oxygen supply at each end of the stomach, while pressure is simultaneously put on the diaphragm, causing breathing difficulties. It's also possible for heart failure and blood flow to be affected due to restriction of the arteries in your dogs abdomen. If left untreated, bloat will toead to shock and eventually death. Although there are many different causes, bloat is often associated with over-eating or gulping of food. It can also occur when a dog is vigorously exercised right after eating a meal. 

Symptoms

  • Painful abdomen
  • Obvious signs of distress
  • Salivation
  • Retching
  • Gasping for breath
  • Weakness
  • Pale gums
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Collapse

Treatment

Your Veterinarian will treat your dog with oxygen supplementation, IV fluids, analgesics and other emergency measures as necessary. In many cases, a tube is inserted down the esophagus to try to decompress the stomach and relieve pressure. Surgery is almost always required to correct a twisted stomach. To prevent the stomach from twisting again in the future, it is recommeneded that your dogs' stomach be surgically attached to the side of the abdominal cavity. This is known as prophylactic gastropexy surgery and is helpful for many high-risk breeds.

Prevention

Dogs who only eat one meal a day are more likely to gobble up food ravenously. Feed your dog several small meals per day to avoid this problem. If your dog still gulps food, try special bowls or timed feeders that only allow a small amount of food to be accessible at a time. Keep your dog at a healthy weight and don't let your dog over-exercise immediately after meals.