by KYW’s Nan Talleno
Canine Bloat, also known as Gastric Dilation Volvulus or GDV, is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate treatment and care for your dog. It is an extremely serious condition that initially causes severe abdominal pain and ultimately stomach distension in large breed dogs with deep chests. Such breeds may include Great Danes, Greyhounds, Irish Setters, St. Bernards, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Collies, Boxers, Dobermans, Labrador Retrievers, etc. But breed aside, know that every large dog can be susceptible. Marley, from the book and movie entitled, “Marley and Me” suffered and died from this illness.
The initial stages include an extended abdomen, followed by volvulus, which is a twisting of the stomach. Symptoms include restlessness, unable to lie down, heavy panting/shortness of breath, weakness, trying to vomit, and sometimes but not always, salivation and a swollen stomach.
If you notice even a few of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately as time is of the essence for immediate treatment for your dog since this can be fatal in just a few hours.
Bloat can be caused most often by exercising too soon after eating, ingesting food and water too quickly thereby, gulping in too much air along with the food, and stress and anxiety.
Avoid Bloat by feeding your dog several smaller meals daily instead of one or two larger ones, purchase a special food bowl with compartments to slow down the eating process, and monitor your pets if you feed multiple pets as once, as competition to eat quicker may be induced in each others’ company.