Gastric torsion, more commonly known as bloat is a deadly condition that is a threat to larger dogs. After cancer, it is the second highest condition that causes death to dogs. Bloat is a condition defined by the twisting of the stomach that blocks off the passageways and traps the gases and contents inside the stomach. If not immediately treated, dogs experiencing bloat may survive for up to a day but will typically die within a couple hours.
Dogs that are more prone to bloat are larger dogs that are deep-chested such as Dobermans, Great Danes and German Shepherds. Older dogs, males, and those that are particularly large for their breed are more at risk. Dogs are also at risk if bloat is in their hereditary background.
There are many recognizable symptoms of bloat. The dog will act very restless and anxious and unlike it’s normal self. Its chest will feel very tight. Other common symptoms are foamy saliva, attempts to vomit, coughing, gagging, whining, pacing, and shallow breathing. If these symptoms are observed, you should seek medical care for your pet right away.
Causes of bloat are typically stress or anxiety, eating foods high in fat, drinking too much water before or after eating and particularly rapid eating. Exercise right after eating especially combined with any of the aforementioned behaviors can be lethal.
Ways to prevent bloat are to feed your dog multiple meals a day instead of just one, and to not allow rapid eating. Do not use an elevated food bowl, and avoid dog foods with fat listed as one of the first four ingredients. Try to keep them out of stressful situations and wait at least an hour after eating, if not more, before exercising.
Treatment for bloat requires medical care and surgery. If a dog becomes a victim of gastric torsion, it must receive veterinary attention immediately as untreated animals have little to no chance of survival.
If you have a larger dog, it may be at risk for bloat. You should be cautious and take the appropriate measures to prevent bloat in all possible ways. You may want to consider its risks and insuring your dog as treatment for bloat costs around two to four thousand dollars. That way you know that your pet will be protected in case any sort of emergency should arise.