Let's Talk About Bloat In Dogs
Bloat is the second leading killer in dogs; it is a canine medical emergency. Bloat can occur in two forms: swelling of the stomach from gas (gastric dilatation) or torsion (gastric dilatation with volvulus), which occurs when the stomach twists on its axis. Often, both forms of bloat occur in a single episode. When this happens, bloat is fatal in minutes. The disease progresses in minutes or, at most, hours. The only treatment is emergency medical treatment. In its two advanced forms, the only treatment is surgery.
Symptoms Of Bloat May Include:
1. Excessive salivation
2. Extreme restlessness/pacing
3. Unproductive attempts to vomit/defecate
4. Evidence of abdominal pain
5. Rapid breathing/panting
The Following Are Risk Factors For Bloat:
1. 110% risk increase associated with using a raised food bowl, no raised feeder!
2. 15% risk increase for speed eating (for dogs weighing 49 to 100 pounds)
3. 20% risk increase for each year increase in a dogs age
4. 170% risk increase for each unit increase in chest depth/width ratio
5. 63% risk increase associated with having a first degree relative with bloat (first degree relative is defined as sire, dam, litter mate, or offspring).
Important Tips To Decreasing The Chances Of Bloat:
1. Raised food bowls: Pet suppliers and manufactures have made claims that raised feeder/bowls aids a dog’s digestion and prevents bloat. No scientific research supports these claims. Some studies have found that use of a raised feeder actually increases the risk of bloat by 110%. Approximately 20% to 50% of bloat cases were attributed to having a raised food bowl.
2. Gulping food: when a dog gulps food, the dog ingests air with the food. Air ingestion causes gas that may, in turn, cause the dog to bloat. This is especially the case in dogs weighing over 49 pounds.
3. Exercise after eating: Allow at least one hour of rest after eating. The worst activity a dog can do after eating is rolling on its back.
4. Feed multiple meals: Studies have shown that feeding in the morning and evening greatly reduces the risk of bloat.
5. Changing food: It is extremely important to introduce new food slowly; it can take several weeks for a dog to adapt. New food if not introduced slowly can cause extreme gas in the stomach and in some cases cause bloat.
6. Table Scraps: Feeding dogs occasional table scraps have been shown to reduce bloat
Information for this article was gathered from an ongoing study at Purdue University Department of Veterinarian Pathobiology.
Important: If you think your dog has bloat do not hesitate, RUSH to the closest veterinarians. In this circumstance every minute counts, if left unattended there is a 100% fatality rate.