GDV (the canine bloat) can be frightening to any dog owner. It can be lethal to dogs, though many dog owners know very little about it. GDV is a very dangerous disorder of the canine digestive system. Below is some information about the disorder and the symptoms that may be helpful for dog owners. Observation and how well you know your dog’s behavior is the key. We all must learn to read canine body language because they can’t express themselves verbally. What is GDV? The bloating of the stomach is often related to swallowed air. It usually happens when there's an abnormal accumulation of air, fluid, or foam in the stomach. Stress can also be a significant contributing factor. Bloat can occur with or without "volvulus;" a twisting rotation of the stomach. As the stomach swells, it may rotate 90° to 360°, twisting between its fixed attachments at the esophagus and at the upper intestine. The twisting stomach traps air, food, and water in the stomach. It prevents the dog's stomach from relieving gas by belching and blocks the food to advance into the intestines. It also stops the dog from getting rid of the food by vomiting. The combined effect can quickly kill a dog. The condition causes shock, coma, and death within 6-12 hours. Always consult your dog's vet as he or she can take x-rays of the abdomen to confirm the diagnosis. What Are Some of the Symptoms? Major anxiety Abdominal swelling, may feel tight. Unproductive gagging Whining Coughing Heavy salivating or drooling Foamy mucus Pacing Attempts to vomit Unproductive attempts to defecate Dry vomiting Heavy panting Shallow breathing Restlessness Excessive heartbeat Hunched appearance Pale or discolored gums Lack of normal digestive sounds Licking of the air Seeks a hiding place Refusal to sit or lie down Drinks excessively Weak Pulse Prevention Dogs showing any of the above symptoms must be observed carefully and taken to a veterinarian immediately. Below are some suggestions to decrease the chances of bloat. Observation will help you understand and help your pet the most. 1. Avoid stressful situations,or minimize the stress. Avoid elevated food bowls 2. Never feed your dog immediately before or after heavy work out or training session. Try to allow 2-3 hours of rest time after feeding your dog. 3. Do not allow your dog to become overweight. 4. Avoid rapid eating 5. Give your dog a few small meals rather than one large one. 6. Keep an anti-gas product on hand 7. Avoid dry foods with citric acid 8. Feed your dog adequate amounts of fiber. 9. Watch for odd symptoms, abdominal swelling, dry vomiting, strange gagging, extreme restlessness. 10. Feed several small meals throughout the day instead of one large meal. If you have a nervous dog, feed her/him in a quite relaxed atmosphere. 11. If you plan on changing your dogs diet, start slowly. 12. Eating Habits: elevated food bowls, rapid eating, eating dry foods that have citric acid as a preservative, insufficient Trypsin, drinking too much water after eating, eating gas-producing foods. 13. Exercise or activities that result in gulping air 14. Stressors: Dog shows, mating, whelping, change in routine, new dog in the house, etc. 15. Heredity 16. Disposition: fearful, anxious, or prone to stress Is Your Dog At Risk? Canine bloat and GDV usually only effects deep-chested, large or extra large dogs between the ages of 4 to 10 years, but smaller dogs are still susceptible. It is thought that some lines of breeds are genetically at a higher risk. Though bloat can occur in puppies, it is a condition which usually occurs in adult dogs. Male dogs are more likely to suffer from bloat than female dogs. Here is a list of some breeds that have a higher chance of being effected by GDV.
Owners of susceptible breeds should be aware of the signs of the disease. Early treatment can greatly improve the outcome. By following the preventive measures recommended, dog owners can further reduce the probability of their pet developing this devastating problem.