What is Bloat?
Bloat is a condition where the stomach becomes overstretched by excess gas possibly due to a blockage or twisting of the stomach. Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) is when the stomach becomes twisted as well. The conditions are progressively life-threatening.
What are the symptoms of Bloat?
The dog may stand uncomfortably and appear to be very uncomfortable for no reason. Sometimes their tummy may appear swollen and hard. They may look weak and depressed, with breathing problems and trying to vomit but nothing coming up. Each dog is likely to show different symptoms so if you dog doesn’t seem it’s usual self then please get in touch with your vet for advice.
What causes Bloat?
A twist or something that prevents gas from leaving the stomach through either sphincter (the ring of muscle at the start and end of the stomach) may cause the condition. Different research suggests different causes but it is thought that deep, narrow-chested breeds, increased age, stress and eating drier food may increase the risk of stomach expansion and the condition. Certain medical conditions such as dogs with inflammatory bowel disease may also be more prone to Bloat. When the stomach twists, it changes the blood flow around the gastrointestinal tract which also puts pressure on blood vessels to the liver and reduces blood flow to other important organs such as the heart. This can cause blood poisoning due to the reduced ability of the liver to remove toxins from the body. If not promptly treated then this can lead to toxic shock and death.
How is Bloat treated?
Early Veterinary intervention is needed to increase the probability of a good outcome for the dog. Death can happen within a couple of minutes so it is imperative Veterinary treatment is sought as soon as possible. It can be life-threatening even with Veterinary treatment. Treatment will be determined depending on the degree of stomach distension and what has caused the Bloat. Surgery may correct the position of the stomach as well as checking to see if and other tissue has been damaged during the Bloat.
If you are concerned about your dog getting Bloat or need any further information then please chat to your vet about any specific queries you have for your dog.