Canine bloat is one of the most dangerous conditions a dog can have. Most dog owners think about bloat affecting only larger breeds, if they even know about it at all, but bloat can strike any dog at any time.
Bloat is when the dogs stomach swells up because there is too much gas inside of it. The stomach presses on the dogs other internal organs, and this causes blood flow throughout the dogs body to be restricted.
Sometimes the dog goes into shock, while other times the digestive system starts to die. The next stage in bloat involves the stomach, which twists around and then shuts off the esophagus and the stomach. Meanwhile the gas inside of the stomach is still expanding and getting worse by the minute.
Canine bloat results in death for about a quarter of the cases that are reported. It causes the animals stomach to rupture, cells to die off, and the heart to stop.
Probably the most frightening thing about bloat is the fact that it runs its course in just a couple of hours, which means the dog can die within hours of it beginning.
Although the exact cause of bloat is not fully understood, some dogs are at a much higher risk to suffer from it.
The number one risk for bloat is simply being a larger breed dog. Coupled with that is having a deep chest like a Great Dane or a Saint Bernard.
Also older male dogs tend to be more likely to get dog bloat than younger dogs or females.
Dogs that eat too much too quickly also are at a higher risk, as are dogs that eat one large meal each day instead of having several small meals.
Additionally, a dog that has a poor diet or one without the right nutrients is more likely to suffer from bloat.
Some of these risk factors cannot be avoided, but you can reduce your dogs risk in some ways.
First, make sure to feed your dog two or three small meals instead of one large one.
Also be sure to feed him high quality dog food with plenty of nutrients and avoid giving him table scraps on a regular basis.
Keep the dog calm for about an hour before and after each meal, and avoid giving water at the same time as food.
Recognizing the symptoms of canine bloat is even more important than realizing if your dog has any of the risk factors for it.
The sooner you recognize that bloat is whats causing your dog to feel ill, the better chances your dog has of surviving it.
The most common symptoms of bloat include severe pain and whining, dry heaving or vomiting only mucus, and not being able to lie down on the stomach.
Sometimes the dogs stomach may look swollen, although not necessarily. It is very important that you take your dog to the emergency vet clinic right away if you recognize these symptoms.
The only treatment available for dog bloat is to take the animal to a vet immediately. The vet will work to relieve the gas pressure in the stomach, in addition to giving the animal medication and painkillers.
After most of the danger is past, the vet will have to surgically correct the position of the stomach.
Usually the dog will have to remain at the vet clinic overnight for observation, as a small percentage of bloat survivors go into cardiac arrest afterward.
Return to Common Dog Health Problems
Return from Canine Bloat to our Yorkshire Terriers Homepage