Many owners are not aware that the term bloat means an emergency situation for every vet.
Whenever an owner calls and says that they think their dog is bloating, it means only one thing – the dog is experiencing something called Gastric Dilatation Volvulus or GDV.
This is a life-threatening situation that requires fast acting from both the owner and the veterinary team.
What is happening when a dog bloats?
This is a sticky situation, where the stomach starts to fill up with gas, fluid, and food which causes it to turn and twist. As a result, nothing can go in or out of the stomach.
Another complication is that the twisted stomach is pressing on major blood vessels which leads to complications afterward.
If the owner does not react fast or if the vet does not recognize the signs of GDV, it is very likely that the dog will die as a result of improper circulation and releasing of toxins into the bloodstream.
Dog breeds that are at high risk for GDV
Yes, in general, every dog could suffer from bloat, but this is a condition that is more often seen in medium and large dog breeds that have deep chest cavities.
This means that there is a lot of space where the stomach can move around and twist itself or around the spleen.
Here are some examples of breeds of dogs that are most common emergency visits at the veterinary hospital with suspected GDV:
- Great dane
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- German Shepherd
- Irish and Gordon setters
- Standard Poodle
Causes of bloat in dogs
As mentioned above, dogs that have deep chest cavities are more prone to developing GDV. GDV usually occurs when your dog eats like it is the end of the world, meaning that they inhale not only the food but a great amount of air as well.
To make things even more complicated, the dog goes out to play after all that heavy meal. This is pretty much a recipe for disaster.
Bloat could also happen if your dog drinks water quite fast and it has been running before and right after it has a good amount of it.
What are the symptoms of GDV in dogs?
For starters, owners notice that their dog looks a bit puffy and round in the stomach. They also show signs of pain and restlessness.
Many times the dog may try to vomit but nothing would come out. If you know how to palpate the pulse, you may notice that it looks like it is not there while your dog is experiencing tachycardia.
Sometimes dogs are not willing to lie down and rest and owners usually are good at recognizing that something is off with their pet.
How is bloat diagnosed in dogs?
Vets usually are good at recognizing dogs with bloat. And that is good because this is a serious emergency where they can’t really go wrong. They could do an x-ray in order to confirm the condition and everything else that comes along with the treatment that they are starting the second the dog walks in the emergency clinic.
Treatment of GDV in dogs
The first thing that the vets have to do is put in several IV catheters and start the fluid regime. This is because dogs with bloat usually are hypotensive because the stomach is pressing on the big blood vessels and blood can’t return properly to the heart.
Second thing is that a surgeon would try to decompress the stomach by releasing the accumulated gas. Once the patient has been stabilized, the correction is surgery.
During surgery, the surgeon will try to remove all of the content from the stomach and then untangle it and return it to its proper position. He then fixes it to the abdominal wall in order to prevent reoccurrence.
If the GDV has been caught on time, the patients usually make full recovery and they leave home with a ton of recommendation papers on how they can prevent GDV from happening again.
The owners usually would be asked to pay between $1500 and $7500, depending on what time of the day they visited the vet and how complicated the case was, to treat a dog suffering from bloating due to GDV.