What Causes Bloat In Dogs

Bloat In Dogs

Lori Newman

What causes bloat in dogs? Bloat or gastric dilatation is a life threatening disease which affects dogs in the prime of life. It is more common in large breed dogs and is marked by gastric distention that results in the twisting of the stomach. Boat is known as the overeating syndrome. It involves swelling of the stomach from fluid, gas in the dog, or both. Once the stomach is distended, the stomach may or may not abruptly twist on its axis. If it does twist, and the twist is 180 degrees or less, it is called a torsion. A twist more than 180 degrees is called a volvulus. Treatment for bloat may require surgery. The term bloat refers to any of three conditions: acute gastric dilatation, torsion, and volvulus.

Causes of bloat are stress, overeating, drinking too much water, exercise before and especially after eating, and heredity.

Here are some bloat facts:

    • It affects dogs of the larger, deeper chested breeds, such as German Shepherds, Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, Saint Bernards, Irish Wolfhounds, Great Pyrenees, Weimaraners, Boxers, Old English Sheepdogs, Bloodhounds, Standard Poodles and other large size dogs 58 pounds are over on average.
    • Dogs that bloat are nearly always two years or older.
    • Two thirds are males.
    • Dogs that bloat eat large quantities of dry dog food.
    • They have a history of digestive upsets.
  • They exercise vigorously after eating and tend to drink water in large amounts after a meal. If your dog has a gastric upset which you think may be bloat, it is important to decide if his condition is due to gastric torsion or dilatation of the stomach. A mild gastric dilatation, not complicated by a stomach twist and symptoms of severe distress, is not an acute emergency. It can be treated at home. A volvulus or torsion is a life and death situation. It calls for immediate veterinary attention.

Acute Gastric Dilatation: The signs are excessive salivation and drooling, attempts to vomit or defecate, extreme restlessness, evidence of abdominal pain, and abdominal distention. In almost all cases of bloat, there is a history of overeating, drinking excessively after eating, eating fermented foods, or taking vigorous exercise after a meal.

If your dog can belch or vomit, it is likely his condition is not due to a twist. The fastest way to confirm a diagnosis of acute gastric dilation is to pass a long rubber stomach tube. As the tube enters the dog’s stomach, you will hear a rush of air from the tube. Swelling in the abdomen subsides and brings immediate relief.

Torsion or Volvulus: The initial symptoms are those of acute dilatation except that distress is much worse. The dog breathes rapidly, the mouth membranes are cold and pale, and he collapses. The shock like symptoms are due to strangulation of the blood supply to the stomach and spleen.. The twisted stomach traps air, food and water in the stomach. A gastric tube will not pass into the stomach. Do not attempt to struggle further with the dog or it can throw him into deeper shock.

Treatment: Rush the dog to the veterinary clinic. The pressure in the abdomen must be relieved immediately. Your Vet con do this by inserting a needle into your dog’s stomach.

Surgery is necessary to relieve a volvulus or torsion. The abdomen is opened and the twist is unwound. The chance of a recurrent attack is about 15 percent.


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