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Understanding Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat) in Dogs

Dog visits veterinarian due to Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, or bloat.

As caretakers of our four-legged companions, it is imperative for pet care service providers and owners alike to be well-versed in various health concerns that can affect animals. When it comes to canines, one condition that demands immediate attention is Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV), commonly known as bloat or twisted stomach. Read on for some crucial tips for recognizing and addressing this potentially life-threatening condition.

What is bloat in dogs?

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, causing it to distend, and then twists on its axis. This dangerous combination can lead to a myriad of complications, including compromised blood flow to vital organs, shock, and even death.

Certain breeds are more predisposed to bloat due to their anatomy. These include large and deep-chested breeds, such as Great Danes, German Shepherds, Boxers, and Collies, and particularly those between 7 and 12 years of age. However, any dog may potentially be susceptible to bloat.

What are the signs and symptoms of bloat?

Pet care service providers must be vigilant in recognizing the early signs and symptoms of bloat. Unfortunately, these signs are often difficult to distinguish from those of other conditions. While the most telltale indication of bloat is a distended, swollen abdomen, other symptoms may include restlessness and signs of discomfort, unsuccessful attempts to vomit, difficulty breathing, and excessive drooling.

Prompt identification of symptoms is crucial for initiating emergency care. Since the condition can rapidly become fatal, pet care service providers should have a plan in place for transporting affected dogs to a veterinary facility as soon as symptoms are observed.

Preventing bloat in dogs

While GDV can strike suddenly, there are several preventive measures that both pet care service providers and pet owners can implement to help reduce the risk. For instance, feeding dogs smaller, more frequent meals rather than one large meal per day, discouraging rapid eating or excessive water consumption, and limiting vigorous exercise immediately after meals are effective strategies to minimize the likelihood of bloat.

While conditions such as bloat constitute a frightening medical emergency, pet care service providers and owners can mitigate risks by staying educated about pet health, implementing preventive measures, and having a well-thought-out emergency plan. At IBPSA, we are committed to equipping our Members with the information they need to provide the best possible care for our animal companions. Explore our certification programs and other resources!