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Bloat

For more information on clinical studies:
    http://www.vet.purdue.edu/depts/vad/cae/cgdvweb.htm

Bloat, sometimes called Stomach Torsion, is actually Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV).  Bloat for short.  We do not know what causes it and we do not have a sure-fire treatment -- 25% of dogs with bloat will die despite veterinary treatment, 100% of bloated dogs will have a recurrence if not treated surgically, and 5% will recur even if treated surgically.

Precipitating factors:
* Deep chested breeds (Malamutes & Siberians, too)  
* Greedy Eaters who inhale food and lots of air
* Obesity (no relationship between spaying/neutering and obesity found in these studies)
* Age (average age was 7, but 6mo puppies have bloated as well)  
* Familial History of bloat -- not a simple inheritance
* 1 meal/day 
* 6 p.m. to midnight, nearly 80% in this time frame
* Change in feeding time
* Larger meal than normal
* 1 in 4 will bloat if they live to be 12yo (in Irish Setters) 
* Food intolerances -- seen more often in Larger breeds
* Shyer dogs are more likely than Confident dogs

Symptoms:
* Swelling/Distended abdomen, especially the left side
* Discomfort & restlessness
* Belching
* Salivating
* Flatulence
* Diarrhea 
* Vomiting with nothing coming up
* Symptoms get progressively worse.  
* Shock caused by pressure on large blood vessels going back to the heart.
* Toxic build up in the stomach because digestion stops

Treatments:
Since a dog that bloats has a 25% chance of NOT surviving 7 days, take him to the vet!  The vet may do several things:  
* Anti-gas medicines, 
* Intravenous fluids for shock
* Stomach tubing, 
* Needles into the stomach to relieve pressure, 
* Gastroplexy -- surgery to include reduction of pressure, removal of material, examination of stomach walls, and stapling of the stomach to the diaphragm to prevent rotation the next time.  

Insist on an x-ray!  Many dogs die from what was originally thought to be a belly-ache.  The onset is fast and life threatening.

Possible Solutions:  
* Smaller meals more frequently
* Hand feeding, rewarding for gentle/slow eating, taps on the nose for greedy inhaling.
* Earlier feedings

Some possible solutions NOT yet researched OR ruled out are:
* Water in food
* Restricting exersice before and after eating 30 minutes - 2 hours
* Elevated feeding or making the dog lie down while eating (crating)

Our rescue Bourbon of the Kansas Puppymill fame, bloated after placement.  He survived because of prompt vet care.  He had many of the precipitating factors, but also did NOT have many of them.  He was 9yo Siberian Husky who is exceedingly shy.  More from owners....

Pictures of surgery...


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This website last updated May 2002