Bloat in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms and Prevention

Bloat in Dogs

Though bloating isn’t that of a serious condition in humans, but it can be fatal for dogs. Due to bloat, or gastric volvulus, the mortality rate in dogs is reported as 50 percent which is extremely life-threatening. So, the condition of your dog to continue leading a normal life is to provide a quick diagnosis and treatment whenever possible.

What is bloat in dogs?

The causes of bloat in dogs occurs under two conditions that are as follows:

The first one is gastric dilatation, that causes the stomach to become distended and the stomach gets filled up with gas and fluids. The second cause of bloat is the movements in the stomach like a rotate. This rotating movement, are due to the organ called spleen, which is attached to the stomach. When this organ also begins to rotate along with the stomach it leads to volvulus. And this rotational movement can even reach from 180 degrees to 360 degrees.

If in case, volvulus happens to occur at the bottom of the stomach portion where the small intestine is present, it gives a pinching feeling. That actually constricts fluid and air circulation to the stomach. Now, when the stomach is completely closed off, neither the dog will not be able to pass gas through burping nor will be unable to vomit. The blood circulation in the lining and wall of the stomach will also become interfered with all these problems.

This can also be called as an incredibly dangerous situation that can promote a number of other serious conditions like severe dehydration, bacterial septicaemia, cardiac arrhythmias, circulatory shock, peritonitis, gastric perforation and even death.

Dogs of any age can suffer from bloat, but the dogs that are middle-aged or older are most likely to suffer from this. Apart from the age factor, a very large breed is predisposed to such conditions simply because they have large internal organs and are located much deeper down within their systems. Such breeds may include, the Great Danes, St. Bernards, German Shepherds, Irish Wolfhounds, Labrador Retrievers and Irish Setters. These dogs have large, deep chests and may also aren’t prone to sickness or ill before the onset of bloat.

Also in fact, they are typically very active and healthy dogs, but sometimes they fall into the condition of bloat just because they have exercised aggressively, eaten a very large meal, or consumed a very large amount of water.

Causes of Bloat in Dogs

Due to many reasons, bloat may occur that includes situations which are:

* When a new dog is introduced into the house, the other dogs may not like to adapt or accept such changes. This would eventually lead to stress in dogs.

* Again, crossing the eating limits is a large cause of bloat. When overeaten, consequently, it can cause dogs to intake too much air and can gulp down with large amounts of water at a

time. Feeding a dog with dry foods that usually contains citric acid, or adding foods such as soybean products or brewer’s yeast that are known to cause gas, also causes bloat.

* Training or exercising too closely to their meal time. When a dog exercises before and after eating, it can obviously make them prone to bloat.

* Mostly genetics issues.

* Physical characteristics like age and size such as large, older, over or underweight.

* Check it out for the dog’s personality. That is because dogs do get stressed out easily and become anxious or aggressive with other people and pets if not taken care properly.

Symptoms of Bloat in Dogs

As already mentioned that dogs cannot belch or vomit when they are undergoing through bloat, but sometimes unsuccessful attempts to vomit can be considered a hallmark symptom for bloat.

You might also notice your dog tries to vomit and nothing comes up. But it can also mean that some amount of foam or mucous would have been present. Also, another biggest sign for the presence of bloat is that the dog simply doesn’t act in its normal ways. This is often seen when dogs sometimes ask to go to the bathroom in the midnight, repeatedly. At that time too, the dog did might once again try to vomit, but with no positive results. This symptom is easily noticeable as a change in dog behaviour while asking for a freak out in the midnight that wasn’t so usual.

While the mentioned the two symptoms are the biggest causes of bloat in dogs, there are a few others that may include:

* A hunched up appearance

* A stance with legs spread apart

* Anxious behaviour

* Bloated and tight abdomen

* Collapsing before and after eating

* Continuously checking their side, abdomen, or other areas that might be in pain

* Staying in a crouched position or curling up in a ball that looks like playing

* Coughing, that may usually be a try for vomiting

* Discoloration of the gums

* Excessive thirst

* Gagging that doesn’t produce anything

* Hiding

* Heavy panting or breathing

* Increased heart rate, when the Bloat becomes worse

* Lack of gurgling sounds in the stomach sounds that indicate digestion, because the dog won’t be digesting their food properly

* Licking at nothing but the air around them

* Membranes around the mouth area felt cold

* Might try eating stones or small sticks

* Pacing

* Refusal to sit or lie down due to pain

* Restlessness

* Salivation or drooling more than usual

* Unsuccessful attempts to defecate

* Weakness, inability to stand

* Weakened pulse

* Whining

* Diagnosing Bloat

If you find symptoms or suspect that your dog has bloat just take them to the vet as soon as possible helping preserve their life.

While most of the vet may likely take x-rays but the quickest way to identify bloat is, passing a long rubber tube down into their stomach. When this is done, a large rush of air or fluid, along with a whooshing sound will serve as evidence. In doing this, the stomach will be washed out to remove the remains of some traces of air or fluid and the dog will be left on an IV for the next 36 hours without food. After that observation, the vet will again continue looking for symptoms and if found none, then the dog can return to their normal patterns of eating. If the case worsens, then a surgery or further high grade treatments will be carried to bring back the dog to normal.

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