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Bloat is Bad

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"Bloat" or "twisted stomach" or "GDV" - whatever term you use, it is definitely a condition you should be aware of because if your dog becomes afflicted, immediate medical intervention is required. It most commonly affects large breeds, especially deep-chested ones such as Boxers, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Dobermans and German Shepherds, but in fact any large breed is potentially at risk.

So what is bloat? Well, it's actually a rather strange condition whereby gas accumulates in the stomach, causing it to expand and to sometimes even twist around its normal axis. This causes life-threatening changes in blood flow and blood pressure, and will result in death if it's not treated, and quickly.

 

How do you recognise it? Symptoms vary:

  1. Your dog might present an obviously bloated/enlarged stomach and signs of clear discomfort.
  2. She might be salivating mildly or retching and restlessness.
  3. He might stand with his head extended.
  4. Sometimes the very first symptom you notice is the worst of all - that your dog has collapsed!

 

How do you prevent it?

  1. There are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of bloat occurring in your dog but sadly it is a condition that can happen at any time in spite of what you do, so awareness is probably your best defense.
  2. Avoid exercising your large breed dog directly after feeding, and try to feed him smaller, more frequent meals, as opposed to one large one.
  3. Bloat is strongly hereditary. If one of your dog's parents ever suffered from bloat, then your dog is at a significantly higher risk for bloat than another dog whose parents did not. So be aware.
  4. Bloat tends to recur in the same individual, so if your dog has had it once, he or she is likely to suffer from it again. There is surgery which can be done to prevent twisting of the stomach during any future bloating occurrences. Talk to your vet about this if you want to know more.
  5. Highly strung dogs are believed to be more at risk, and stressful situations are also thought to play a role. So if you have a highly strung large breed, let this knowledge affect how you handle and manage him, to the extent that this is possible.

 

Please don't panic. Yes, it's true, bloat can and indeed does happen unexpectedly and it is very serious when it does happen, but it's equally true that it does not happen easily nor frequently. So, do be aware but don't overly worry.

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