Dr. Calhoun: Bloat is a condition we Veteranarians typically call GDV or Gastric Dilitation Vulvulus. It happens when the stomach starts to distends with gas, fluid, and food. This can be pretty painful for the dog. If the distension continues or gets worse, we worry about that stomach flipping over or rotating on itself. When this happens, it can cut off the blood supply to the stomach. The dog would be unable to vomit or pass that fluid or gas out the other way. It can become life threatening.
Meg: Obviously, very dangerous then. So what are things that can cause this to happen in dogs?
Dr. Calhoun: Well, there are, certainly, risk factors that we don;t know of yet, but there are big ones that we are aware of. One of them is breed pre-disposition. In particular - dogs that can be deep-chested, like Reiley here. The distance between the chest area and his spine...that and a dog that is fairly narrow from side-to-side....makes them more at risk. So breeds, like an Irish WOlfhound or a Great Dane, German Shepard - any of those breeds. Keep in mind, though, that it could happen to any breeds. So, any breed can get this. Another risk factor is age. The older the dog is, the more liekly it is to happen. Feeding the dog and allowing the dog to excercise a bit can get this to happen. So we want to make sure we feed our pets and give them time to digest their food.
Meg: Are there some symptoms that we should be looking for, specifically, with this?
Dr. Calhoun: Absolutely. If you find your dog vomitting, but its unable to, trying to vomit but not getting anything up, or jsut bringing up water or foamy saliva, that may be a sign. Checking back in this area, behind the rib cage, and checking to see if it is distended, hard, painful, the dog isnt able to get comdfortable - that may be another sign. Its something where if you see that or expect it , you should get your dog to the vet. THis is not something that can wait. It is a life threatening condition, and the sooner we can see the dog and give treatment, the better that the dog has of survivng this.
Meg: So when it comes to prevention, what can we do?
Dr. Calhoun: There is a preventative measure that we can do. It is a surgical procedure, fairly minor surgical procedure, where we tack the wall to the stomach to the abdominal wall. That will prevent the stomach from flipping over. It wont prevent the bloating, but were hoping to prevent the cutoff of the blood supply. to the stomach.
Meg: So if we have one of these specific breeds, its something we should consider.
Dr. Calhoun: Definitely. Consult with your vet on that and consider having it done.
Meg: Okay. Dr. Lisa Calhoun, thank you so much, and join us next week for more tips from Pet Check.