is the common term for Gastric Dilation-Torsion Complex. This
condition involves swelling of the stomach from gas, fluid or both.
As the stomach swells, it may rotate 90° to 360°, twisting between its
fixed attachments at the esophagus (food tube) and at the duodenum (the
The twisting stomach traps
air, food, and water in the stomach. The bloated stomach obstructs
veins in the abdomen, leading to low blood pressure, shock, and damage
to internal organs. The combined effect can quickly kill a dog.
Bloat is a life-threatening veterinary emergency
and can kill in less than an hour
SYMPTOMS OF BLOAT:
If you see ANY combination of these symptoms and suspect bloat, get
the dog to your veterinarian or an emergency clinic as quickly as
possible. Do not wait until you feel/see an enlarged stomach!
Once the stomach has twisted (torsion) no first aid can
cure bloat and emergency veterinary intervention is the only option
Attempts to vomit (usually unsuccessful); may occur every 5-20
Continuous pacing or
lying down in odd places
restlessness / inability to get comfortable
up" or "roached up" appearance
usually accompanied by retching noises
Bloated abdomen that
may feel tight (like a drum)
Despite the term "bloat," often this
symptom never occurs or is not apparent
Pale, off-color or
Lack of normal
gurgling and digestive sounds in the tummy
Foamy mucous around
the lips, or vomiting foamy mucous
attempts to defecate
Licking the air
Seeking a hiding
Looking at their
side or other evidence of abdominal pain or discomfort
Refusing to lie down
or sit down
(especially in advanced stage)
May attempt to eat
small stones and twigs
Heavy or rapid
panting, shallow breathing
(heart rate increases as bloating progresses)
The following links
provide more information on bloat, its prevention and first aid.
Canis Major On Bloat
Devine Farm Mastiff Bloat
The Purdue Bloat Study
TIPS FOR PREVENTING
Feed in bowl on ground rather than an elevated
(This is recent change from a
common recommendation that dogs be fed from an elevated container, and
is based on the belief that food that is fed from a lower position will
spend more time being pre-digested by digestive enzymes in the dog’s
mouth and by the chewing process, reducing the stomach’s digestive
“load” and subsequent gaseous by-products. Still, personal opinion and
study results continue to vary regarding ground-level vs.elevated
Avoid dry foods that list oils or fats among the
first four label ingredients when feeding dogs with a previous
occurrence or family history of bloat.
- Do not feed when the
dog is stressed, over-heated or immediately following strenuous
exercise. Immediately after a meal, the dog should have be allowed to
rest comfortably and not be allowed to exercise strenuously or be put
into a stressful situation.
- Do not allow your
dog to drink too much water immediately before or after a meal. Other
than immediately before and after meals, dogs should have access to
clean water at all times.
- When switching dog
foods, do so gradually (allow several weeks).
- Always keep a product with
Mylanta Gas [not regular Mylanta], Mylicon Drops, Phazyme, Gas-X, etc.) on hand to treat gas symptoms.
Liquid simethicone is available over-the-counter for infants or can be
obtained by piercing the end of a liquid-filled simethicone capsule with
If torsion (twisting) has already
occurred, simethicone will not be able to reach the stomach and will not
giving simethicone immediately if the dog burps more than once or shows
other signs of gas.
Others report relief of gas symptoms with 1/2 tsp of
nutmeg or the homeopathic remedy Nux moschata 30
owners of breeds that are prone to bloat have veterinarians “tack” the
stomach into place while performing other abdominal surgeries to prevent
the deadly torsion (twisting) in the event the dog bloats in the future.