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5 January 2023
Dogs can develop Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat, which is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Bloat occurs when the stomach becomes distended with gas or air, causing it to twist and rotate within the abdomen. This can lead to several serious complications, including reduced blood flow to the stomach, difficulty breathing, and even organ failure.
There are several factors that can contribute to bloat in dogs. One of the most common is eating too quickly. Dogs that wolf down their food are more likely to swallow a lot of air along with their meal, which can lead to the stomach becoming distended. Another factor is eating a large meal, especially one that is high in fat. Fatty foods can be more difficult to digest and can cause the stomach to produce more gas.
Exercise can also play a role in bloat. Dogs that are exercised immediately before or after eating are more likely to develop the condition. This is because the movement can cause the stomach to shift within the abdomen, which can lead to twisting.
In some cases, bloat may be the result of a genetic predisposition. Some breeds of dogs, including large and giant breeds, are more likely to develop bloat. These breeds include Great Danes, St. Bernards, and Irish Wolfhounds.
It’s important for dog owners to be aware of the signs of bloat. These signs include a distended abdomen (abnormally swollen), restlessness, panting, retching, and a sensitive tummy when touched. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from bloat, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. Treatment will typically involve stabilizing the dog followed by a procedure to deflate and untwist the stomach. Sometimes, if the stomach wall is damaged, surgery is also required to remove the damaged area. It is common for dogs who have had GVD to suffer from it again, therefore, veterinarians will often perform a gastropexy which involves surgically attaching the stomach to the abdominal wall in order to prevent twisting.
Preventing bloat in dogs can be difficult, but there are some steps that you can take to reduce the risk. These include feeding your dog several small meals throughout the day instead of one large one, avoiding exercising your dog immediately before or after eating, and avoiding feeding your dog high-fat foods. It’s also a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about the best ways to prevent bloat in your dog.