Bloat is a serious, life threatening condition of dogs whereby the stomach fills with gas and twists upon itself. The stomach becomes over distended with gas and twists so the entrance from the oesophagus and exit to the small intestine are blocked and as nothing can leave the stomach there is rapid swelling. This is known as dilation which is due to an accumulation of gas formed from the digestive and bacterial processes.
This condition is very very serious and it is essential to get to a vet at once. If neglected the dog will go into shock and death can occur very quickly.
If your dog gets bloat, you will know as the signs are unmistakeable:
- Pacing around and retching with an inability to vomit is commonly seen.
- Swelling of the sides of the abdomen will occur (which is why it’s named ‘bloat’).
- Wanting to drink excessively.
- Extreme salivation, similar to froth.
- Standing with head held very low (usually a sure sign of discomfort)
Depending on the severity of the condition treatment will vary. If the stomach has not twisted a catheter will be passed into the stomach thereby removing some of the gas and stomach contents. Usually by the time you get the dog to the Vets, the stomach has already twisted upon itself. If the Catheter can’t be put down the throat the dog will be stabilised with fluids to lessen shock, and given emergency surgery to return the stomach to its normal position.
It’s fairly common today for the stomach to be stitched to the wall of the abdomen to prevent it from twisting again, although this doesn’t always work.
Despite much research into the causes there is still nothing definite known.
- Owners are advised to always feed adult mastiffs at least twice a day
- Avoid exercise before and after meals
- Avoid large drinks after meals.
- Try to stop your dog from gulping its food, not easy, as this causes a large amount of air to be swallowed.
- Following recent research it has become debatable whether raising the food bowl by means of a stand is advisable.