Gastric Torsion / Bloat
Bloat (gastric torsion) occurs when the canine stomach fills with air. The expanding stomach can cut off the blood supply to vital organs. In the worst cases, the stomach itself can become twisted and begin to die. About 20 percent of the dogs with bloat die, even with immediate treatment. To prevent recurrence, surgeons staple the stomach to nearby muscle, preventing twisting in the future. But if you follow a few simple rules this step should not be necessary. Bloat occurs in twice as often dogs that eat once a day as compared to a dog that eats two or more times a day. It is believed that deep chested breeds like the Great Dane suffer bloat more often than others..
What to do
*Feed your dog two to three smaller meals a day, instead of one large meal.* Very important*
Feed a diet that is mostly meat (high protein) and high in fiber with minimal amounts of grain and carbohydrates. Some vets recommend completely eliminating grain and carbs if your dog has ever experienced bloat before *recommended
Try to get your dog to eat slower if she is gulping down her food, which may entail picking up her bowl a few times while she’s eating. Dogs that eat fast tend to swallow a lot of air, which can lead to bloat. *recommended
Do not allow your dog to drink a large amount of water after a meal. Ingesting a lot of water can cause gas and will also cause dry food to expand in the stomach *recommended
*Keep your dog from vigorous activity, especially rolling over, for at least two hours after a meal. Heavy activity increases the risk of stomach twist. A leisurely walk is better and can also aid digestion.* this is a very important step*
Signs of Bloat
Attempts to Vomit: The most obvious and consistent sign of bloating occurs when a dog attempts to vomit repetitively. If your dog is bloated, he will try to vomit every five to 30 minutes. However, vomiting will be unsuccessful---at best, increasing saliva production.
Behavior: A dog who is experiencing bloating will not act like itself. Dogs with bloating often exhibit anxiety, restlessness, whining, pacing, licking the air and drinking excessively. Your dog may also refuse to sit or lie down and may stand spread-legged in an odd manner. Be sure to check on your dog if he seems to be feeling unwell and is seeking to hide, as this can also be a sign of bloating.
Mouth: If you believe your dog is bloated, check her mouth. Dogs with bloating often gag, drool and foam at the mouth. If those signs aren't present, but you still think your dog may be bloated, touch the gums.
Is she cold to the touch and pale or off-color? If so, your dog may be bloated.
Breathing: It's common for bloated dogs to have difficulty breathing. The bloating of the abdomen pushes on the diaphragm, making it harder for dogs to breathe. Watch for panting, short, quick breaths or shallow breathing for another sign of bloating.
. Heart Rate: Although seemingly at odds with each other, dogs that are bloated will experience an increasingly faster heartbeat the further bloating progresses. Yet, some dogs will also have a weak pulse.
Collapse: In the final stages of bloating, dogs collapse to the ground, unable to move. The collapse is the final symptom of bloating and the point where it is often too late to get help.
Take your pup/dog immediately to the vet if you see 2 or more of these symptoms or if he collapses. You cannot get him their fast enough if he has bloat!
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