Bloat in Dogs

If you believe your dog is experiencing bloat, please get your dog to a veterinarian immediately! Bloat can kill in less than an hour, so time is of the essence. Call your vet to alert them you’re on your way with a suspected bloat case. Better to be safe than sorry

This information is not intended to replace advice or guidance from veterinarians or other pet care professionals. It is simply being shared as an aid to assist you with your own research on this very serious problem. PLEASE EAD..IT COULD SAVE YOUR PETS LIFE….

 Canine Bloat

Canine bloat is a serious medical condition of dogs. It is more properly termed Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus Complex or GDV, as this describes the course of events. Almost every breed of dog has been affected by GDV, but the condition is seen more commonly in large, deep-chested breeds, such as the Great Dane. The exact cause of GDV has not been determined with any certainty, but dogs that eat rapidly and are then allowed to exercise afterward appear to be at increased risk. One theory is that the heavy, food-filled stomach can act like a pendulum, swinging back and forth until it twists on itself. Another theory advocates that it has been shown experimentally if the stomach of the dog is distended with air by means of a stomach tube, the stomach eventually twists in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction, depending on the position of the spleen at the onset of distension. If this theory is correct, there is some factor that causes the initial distension of the stomach. This factor is not known, but it is probably due to a condition which causes atony (paralysis of the wall of the stomach) associated with a large meal and then gas production. Swallowing air could be the cause of much of the gas found in the stomach. Recent studies indicate that Dietcan affect the risk. There does not appear to be any association with the sex of the animal.

Whatever the inciting cause, affected dogs all show similar signs, usually within 1-2 hours of eating. Initially they are anxious, restless, not interested in food or water; they may try to vomit once or twice and then follow this with retching and gagging motions, which are usually unproductive, followed by mild foaming at the mouth. After a short period (3O-60 minutes), the dog begins to appear swollen in its midsection due to the accumulation of gas in the stomach. The dog will begin to pant heavily and breathing becomes rapid and shallow. In most cases of GDV, the stomach undergoes a volvulus or “twist’. This closes both the esophagus and pylorus, preventing the dog from relieving the gas pressure. The condition is rapidly fatal, causing shock, coma and death within a very short time. Diagnosis is relatively easy based on breed, history and clinical signs. Your veterinarian may take x-rays to confirm the diagnosis. GDV is a true life-threatening emergency. If you suspect your dog may be showing signs, take your dog to your vet or emergency clinic without delay.


Treatment is aimed at reducing the gas pressure and returning the stomach to its normal position. Your vet will remove pressure via a stomach tube or trochar through the stomach wall. They will then prepare the dog for exploratory surgery to find the exact problem and correct it. Usually the surgeon will perform a gastropexy at this time to prevent recurrence.

Death loss due to GDV is very high for several reasons. Often the owner delays in presenting the dog because they are unaware of the seriousness of the condition. Also, once the stomach has undergone volvulus, many metabolic poisons build up in the body resulting in damage to the heart muscle, stomach wall, liver and spleen. Frequently these poisons will cause the heart to stop during surgery or they may circulate for several days post-operatively and continue to pose a threat.

Many veterinarians suggest that a preventative gastropexy be performed. A circumcostal gastropexy – considered to be the most effective – involves taking a section of the stomach wall, guiding it around one of the ribs, and reattaching it to the stomach wall. This prevents the stomach from twisting. This surgery can be done in conjunction with a spaying procedure.


Preventing Canine Bloat:

feed small amounts of food 2-3 times a day to allow control over exercise periods

•feed and water at chest height to prevent ingestion of air

(this is contrary to what Purdue University advocates, but is definitely the recommended method to prevent not only GDV but also spinal damage in the neck area)

•do not let the dog exercise one hour before and two hours after eating

•allow continuous access to water so that the dog will not drink large amounts of water after eating

•add an enzyme product to food

•keep simethicone (e.g. Gas-X, Bloat-Eze) on hand to treat gas symptoms

•know emergency clinics in your area should the need arise

(Murphy’s Law usually applies – It seldom happens during your regular vet’s working hours)

•have emergency phone numbers readily available to alert the clinic that you are coming

•try various ‘dry runs’ to determine the quickest route to your clinic

• consider preventative gastropexy before an incident occurs.


Remember – Time is the most critical factor for corrective surgery, which can cost $1,800-$2,400, to be successful and there are no guarantees as to whether your pet will survive.