What is bloat?
Bloat or gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV) is a life threatening condition for dogs. It is where the stomach twists and inflates with gas preventing it from emptying.
There are a few breeds of dogs that are known to being susceptible which include: German Shepherds, Great Danes and those who are large in size and deep chested.
Common Symptoms of Dog Bloat
- Distended (bloated) stomach
- Unsuccessful vomiting, or only vomiting up foamy saliva. If you see this immediately go to a vet
- Restlessness, inability to lie down, panicked or distressed
- Pawing at or looking at their belly
- Rapid shallow breathing and pale mucus membranes
What causes dog bloat?
The causes are unknown, but contributing factors include anatomy, the body structure, genetic and environment factors.
It used to be thought that activity following a meal was a main factor. It was also thought that a lowered food bowel encouraged swallowing of air which would lead to the condition. However, the most recent train of thought identifies eating from a RAISED food bowl as a risk factor. Dogs that are fast eaters have also been identified at risk.
Meet a young German Shepherd called Jess. Below is her Mums recollection of her recent scare with bloat. She wanted to share it to help other pet families who might be unsure.
About two and a half hours after Jess had eaten, my husband noticed something was wrong. Jess was agitated, kept looking at her abdomen and was walking in circles. It was though she wanted to lie down but couldn’t. I took her outside to see if she needed to vomit and she did. She then ate it. Thinking she would be fine, I brought her back inside. She still looked uncomfortable and in pain.
I have read up on bloat as I am aware German Shepherds are prone to it. On checked her abdomen, there was no sign of blowing up, but I was worried as she was very agitated. I decided not to waste any time and go to the vets as quickly as possible (no speed cameras, phew!).
On the drive she became extremely distressed, crying continuously (as did I) and trying to vomit. By the time we arrived, she was in shock and in 40 minutes her stomach had blown up to the size of a balloon.
As soon as she arrived at the vet hospital triage commenced. She was diagnosed very quickly and rushed into emergency surgery. Her family had rushed to hospital in time and this contributed to a successful operation.
It is a significant surgery, so she stayed in hospital until well enough to go home. She returned for her veterinary recheck, to make sure everything was healing as expected. This photo of Jess is five weeks and two days later, playing soccer and moving beautifully.
“I could not have asked for better care for Jess and myself. Thank you so much, not only for the lifesaving surgery but for taking care of me at the same time. Allowing me to wait while you operated. Making me coffee. Coming out with updates. Checking I hadn’t collapsed in a heap on the floor. I will be forever grateful.”