One night, handsome Doogal, a 3 year old Basset Hound suddenly began howling and retching. He then fell over and his belly looked like it was growing. Thankfully his family were home. Startled they bundled him into the car and drove to the emergency vet hospital.
The nurses at reception work on triage. On seeing how unwell Doogal they got a veterinarian straight away. He was given immediate medication for his pain. Due to his rapid decline, the veterinarians on duty took him to get some x-rays. These confirmed the worst. His diagnosis was GDV which requires immediate and potentially life saving emergency surgery. There is always a risk with surgery, but without this intervention dogs have no chance of survival. Most will die a painful death within hours of its occurrence.
GDV or Gastric dilation and volvulus happens when gas causes the stomach to become distended and often twist upon itself. Once this has happened there is no way for the gas to to exit the stomach. As a result the blood supply to the stomach becomes compromised.
What breed of dogs are susceptible to bloat?
Research indicates that this condition is most commonly affects large breed, deep, narrow chested dogs over the age of two years.
What are the signs of bloat in dogs?
- a sudden distended belly
- non-productive retching
- sudden anxiety
- sudden restlessness
There are many risk factors associated with the development of GDV. Some of these include: feeding one meal a day, feeding from an elevated food bowl, exercising before or immediately after meals and eating quickly.
How to reduce the risk of bloat in dogs:
- Try to feed two or three times a day rather than an one big meal
- Have water available at all times, but on saying that, limit it immediately after eating
- Restrict vigourous exercise, excitement of stress one hour before meals and two hours after
Doogal stayed in hospital until he had recovered enough to eat, urinate and visit the front lawn. After being discharged from hospital he came back for a checkup. The surgeon was happy with both his healing and recovery. He still enjoys park visits and the beach with his family.