Bloat Or Gastric Dilatation Volvulus - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

25 Aug 2014 | by | Posted in: Health

GDVBloat or Gastric Dilatation Volvulus or GDV is a medical condition that occurs in dogs in which the stomach dilates and rotates / twists in the short axis. GDV or bloat is a life threatening condition and requires emergency vet care  and at times even surgery.

During Gastric Dilatation Volvulus or Bloat, the stomach twists and creates a increased pressure on the abdomen and cardio vascular system and decreased flow of blood to the organ. If the blood flow reduces drastically, it is extremely critical for the dog as it may result in organ death.


Bloat Causes:

The exact causes of bloat are unknown. Many vets include factors such as genetics, anatomy, environment and food as the reason behind the onset of bloat or GDV. Large and deep chested dog breeds such as Great Danes, German Shepherds, Poodles, Labrador retrievers and Golden Retrievers are at a high risk of developing GDV than smaller breeds.


Some of the most common causes that have been attributed to GDV are

  • Ingestion of large amounts of food or water
  • Delayed clearing of bowels post food
  • Hyperactivity such as running or jumping or playing immediately after eating.
  • Dogs who have kibbles or packed food such as Pedigree / Drools are also at a high risk of developing GDV as kibbles tend to expand or generate gas when digested.
  • Many a times, the sphincter between oesophagus and the stomach may dysfunction and cause bloat.


Bloat Symptoms:

The symptoms for GDV vary from dog to dog. A dog with bloat may not be able to stand comfortably and may be in extreme discomfort. Some of the other symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Distension of the abdomen
  • Constant retching without vomiting
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Inability to stand
  • Excessive drooling
  • Rapid heart beats
  • Pale mucus membrane especially in mouth and nose


Bloat Diagnosis:

If your dog is in extreme discomfort and is retching without vomiting, seek immediate veterinarian help. On examination, the veterinarian will find a tense stomach, pale mucous membranes, increased heart rate and low pulse. 

X rays of the stomach and blood and urine will have to be done to assess the severity of the bloat in the dog.


Bloat Treatment:

It is imperative to treat the dog as soon and as aggressively as possible as bloat can become fatal in a matter of minutes, if not treated. Treatment may include intravenous fluid therapy or even an emergency surgery. The vet may try to remove the pressure on abdomen by passing a tube down the throat of the dog to remove any extra air / froth. If the x-ray shows a twist in the stomach then a emergency surgery will have to be performed to save the stomach and spleen damage due to the twist.


Management post Bloat

After the intravenous therapy or surgery, care needs to be taken that the painkillers and necessary supplements are administered on time. Heavy physical activity such as running or jumping should be restricted for at least two weeks post surgery. 

Ensure that the food that is offered to your dog is is of small sizes and not in large quantities. Make sure that your dog does not run or exercise immediately after meals and is clearing his / hers bowels on time.

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