What is Canine Bloat? Signs & Treatments
Bloat in dogs is often known as Gastric Torsion. It is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness and disease in canines, and affects many dogs every year. How seriously will depend on the dog, and how early the symptoms are diagnosed and treatment given. It is a stomach issue that can occur when your dog eats too much or too quickly. Like humans, dogs’ stomachs are like balloons. They expand and contract, but they must do it gradually. If they don’t and it happens too quickly, it can have much worse consequences for dogs. While humans will generally feel a little discomfort when bloating, the results are much worse for dogs. The excess gas will not disperse, it will only inflame the stomach and cause serious damage. As the stomach grows beyond its limits, it can begin to stop blood flow and circulation to the heart. The lack of blood can also destroy stomach tissue, effecting the dog’s ability to consume and hold food and drink in the future. In cases of bloat in dogs, their stomachs can twist at the top and bottom, cutting off the stomach at both ends of the body; needless to say this is a very distressing and dangerous development for any dog.
What are the signs of Bloat in dogs?
How can you tell when bloat in dogs is striking? Well, there are a few different ways you can tell. But remember, these symptoms are not a guarantee of bloat and can also be something else, but once you see one or any of these signs, to go your vet immediately. Large dogs are more susceptible to canine bloat because they eat larger meals, but smaller dogs also suffer from bloat symptoms. The breed of some dogs can also play a part because certain ones have a specific chest structure, which opens their stomach up. The threat can also impact their dog life expectancy.
- Change in personality and physical activity level
- Stomach appears larger, distended and hard
- Lack of normal digestive sounds (place your ear on your dog’s stomach and note if there is any difference)
- Standing in a hunched over position, unable to get comfortable
- Refusing to lie on their side
- Dry heaving or vomiting foam or mucus
- Appearing anxious
- Licking the air
- Looking at their abdomen
- Standing with their legs spread
- Shallow breathing
- Weak pulse
- Collapsing to the ground
- Cold gums that are dark red (or blue or white in later stages)
- Attempting to defecate but unable to
Here is the list of susceptible dog breeds.
- Airedale Terriers
- Basset Hounds
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Doberman Pinschers
- Gordon Setters
- Great Danes
- Irish Setters
- Irish Wolfhounds
- Labrador Retrievers
- Saint Bernards
Treatments for Bloat in Dogs
Bloat in dogs is treated immediately after diagnosis from your vet and it is important to get it done as quickly. From there, treatment is based on how advanced the condition has become, and it obviously stands to reason that would also impact the chances of survival. If your dog’s stomach has twisted, surgery may be required and an incision could help alleviate pressure caused by the excess gas. You may also want to get some pet insurance and a petplan. Here are a list of the treatments itemised.
- Incision to help alleviate pressure
- Surgery to remove dead stomach tissue
What cause canine Bloat?
Bloat in dogs is extra dangerous because vets don’t have a definitive answer for what causes it. A dog’s bloated stomach has many different causes, not just bloat itself. Everyday things can result in bloat in dogs, such as one big meal per day. Some dog owners only feed their pooches once, rather than the recommended three times. Three smaller portions allow the stomach to properly digest each bite and meal before another goes in; this is important because means the stomach can retract to proper size rather than continuing to expand and withholding the gases that become dangerous. Exercise near mealtimes can be problem and can result in bloat symptoms in dogs. This is because dogs need one hour before and after rigorous exercise, because if they are not calm and get too riled up, they can wolf down their food so quickly that those same digestive issues occur. Certain ingredients in dog food, such as grain in kibble, can also play a part in bloat in dogs, though some people don’t believe it, but it can impact digestion in itself, as can drinking lots of water during the meal. When a dog drinks large gulps at a time, they take in pockets of air, which adds to the gas that they swallow, and that builds up and expands the stomach. Removing water from the meal could then, in theory, reduce the risk of bloat in dogs.