Everything you need to know about BLOAT (GDV)

Bloat is a life-threatening condition which many dog owners are unaware of. It involves the stomach twisting, which creates an obstruction to major blood vessels and limits the heart’s ability to pump blood, damaging vital organs.

Bloat is a veterinary emergency.

Any symptoms should not be taken lightly with a “wait and see” approach. The longer it takes to see a vet, the less likely it is that your dog will survive. Death can be the result in just a few hours without appropriate treatment.

Bloat is more common to occur in large, deep-chested dogs such as the Weimaraner, Great Dane, Vizsla, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Doberman and Mastiff breeds but can also happen to any breed. We had a case recently where a dachshund unfortunately lost its life due to bloat.

With approximately 30 per cent mortality rate, this is a condition where prevention is better than cure. What can you do to reduce the likelihood of your dog suffering from this condition?

  • Bloat is more likely to occur if the dog is eating large meals too soon before or after exercise. The common rule is no exercise for 30 minutes to 1 hour either side of meals, especially for those breeds that fall into the danger category.
  • It has also been shown that breaking the dog’s diet up so they have two smaller meals per day rather than one large meal can help to reduce the incidence of bloat.
  • Slow down the rate at which your dog eats. If they tend to inhale their meals, try swapping out their food bowl for a Go- Slow bowl or a Green Feeder, or sprinkle their food on the patio or lawn so that your dog has to forage for their meal.

Symptoms to look out for

Get immediate veterinary attention if your dog:

  • Is pacing, restless, panting, and salivating
  • Repeatedly attempts to vomit
  • Appears to have a swollen or bloated stomach which feels tight
  • Has dark red gums or (more advanced and urgent) white or blue gums
  • Looks and acts very unsettled, ie, unable to stand or sit comfortably

Fore more information about how to protect your dog from GDV or what to look out for, speak to your vet.