Bloat in Dogs aka GDV
Triggered by stress, canine bloat is a life
which can become deadly in less than an hour.
It is the second
killer of dogs, after bone
cancer in dogs.
The technical term for the consition is
It actually refers to two issues which can occur together.
A bloated stomach (Gastric Dilatation) is an
of air, fluid, and/or foam in the stomach.
Volvulus (or Torsion) is when the stomach
twists. When the stomach swells, it can rotate and twist
two attachment points:
- esophagus - "food tube"
- duodenum - upper intestine
This traps air, water and food in the
This belly bloat, in
turn, obstructs veins in the abdomen, which can lead to:
- loss in blood pressure
- damage to internal organs
Symptoms of stomach bloating in dogs include:
- Attempting to vomit
unproductive - nothing comes up or just foam/mucous) - hallmark symptom
- Doesn't act like usual self
(unusual behavior coupled with vomit attempts = get to vet immediately)
- earliest warning sign
- Abdomen severely enlarged and/or
hard to the
- Anxious or Restless Behavior
- Absence of gurgling or digestive
- Accelerated heartbeat (increases as the
- Cold mouth membrane
- Coughing or gagging
- Curling up in a ball or into a crouching
- Drinking excessively
- Eating small stones or twigs
- Foamy mucous around the mouth
- Gums that are not pink (dark red early
on, white or
blue in later stages)
- Heavy or rapid panting
- Heavy salivation or drooling
- Hunched Up Appearance
- Inability to defecate
- Licking the air
- Looking at their side (the source of
- Refusing to lay down or sit down
- Shallow breathing
- Standing spread-legged
- Unable to stand
- Weak pulse
What Causes It?
Unfortunately, there is no valid research
the cause. Nor on its prevention.
Purdue University School of Veterinary
conducted a research study. But, it is somewhat misleading. It appears
to be scientific research, when it is purely based on statistical
research. The problem is that it was not peer evaluated. So, it is
difficult to consider the conclusions as scientific truth.
The study did not take into account:
- ph levels in the gut
- existence of pathogenic yeast
- presence of bacteria
All of which can contribute to GDV. And all
of which are
preventable. They are affected, among other things, by overuse of grain
based food, antibiotics and excessive vaccinations.
Great Danes are most susceptible to to GDV.
breeders no longer dump money into this project. They've realized that
the true problem lies primarily in the environment of the gut.
Changes in dog food along with the use of
over the past 15 years has severely decreased the number of cases.
Stomach Tacking or Prophylactic Gastropexy
Surgery is a
procedure which attaches the stomach to the body wall. It is much less
expensive than an emergency trip to the vet once your dog has developed
a distended stomach.
Many people advise that this should be done
time as a spay or neuter surgery. Otherwise, there is a laparascopic
procedure which is minimally invasive, but much more expensive.
It may buy some peace of mind. Your dog may still
bloat, but the
tacks are supposed to keep the stomach from twisting. But, be aware
stomach tack anchors don't always hold. There are cases where a dog who
had the preventative tacking surgery develops bloat and the stomach
I decided not to have the surgery done on my
Shepherd puppy. Rather than worry about elevating the food bowl or not,
calculating the chest depth/width ratio, etc., I opted to take a more
Tips for Preventing Canine Bloat
The information and
products recommended by german-shepherd-lore.com are not intended to
take the place of expert veterinarian care. Please consult with your
vet and ask about using a natural and alternative approach for the
healthcare and treatment of your pet. Find a holistic vet.