By Amy Wence
What is it?
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat, is a life-threatening condition that can happen unexpectedly to our canine companions. GDV occurs when the stomach becomes filled with gas and twists. The blood supply to the stomach is then cut off, causing the organ to die. GDV can kill a dog in less than an hour. It is an extremely serious condition, so it is important to recognize the signs and to seek immediate veterinary help should this traumatic event suddenly strike your dog.
What are the causes and which dogs are at risk?
What are the signs?
contact your vet immediately. I would suggest keeping an emergency vet phone number stored in your phone. Some veterinary clinics may offer after-hours urgent care for clients. CARE Animal Hospital in Kenosha has an emergency pager number for their clients. Ask your vet if they offer any emergency services. If not, there are two animal
emergency treatment centers in the area.
- The Animal ER of Kenosha & Racine, 4333 S. Green Bay Road, Racine, WI 53403, P: (262)553-9223, http://www.animalerwi.com/index.htm
- Animal Emergency & Treatment Center (AETC), 1810 E. Belvidere Road, Grayslake, IL 60030, P: (847) 548-5300, http://www.aetcenter.com/
Mylanta Gas, in an easy to access place. You can grab this quickly on your way to the vet to administer to your dog. This may reduce the bloating and buy your dog a little time. Talk to your veterinarian about proper dosages. It should be stressed that this is not an alternative to veterinary treatment. GDV is very serious and must be treated by a
veterinarian as soon as possible.
What you can do?
- Adding a probiotic digestive enzyme supplement to your dog’s diet (I personally like In Clover’s Fresh Digest Daily (http://www.entirelypets.com/freshdigest10oz.html)
- Feed from food bowls designed to limit eating speed if you have a fast eater (http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3519706 or http://www.amazon.com/Brakefast-Bog-Food-Bowl-Small/dp/B000S6XSA0)
- Limit exercise 1-2 hours before and after eating
- Feed your dog twice a day
- If your dog is an extremely high risk candidate, you may consider having a procedure called, laparoscopic gastropexy performed. This procedure involves tacking the stomach to the abdominal wall so that it cannot twist. However, it’s worth noting that this procedure is not guaranteed to prevent GDV and it is possible for the stomach to become loose from the abdominal wall.
The most important thing you can do in the unfortunate case that your dog should bloat is seek immediate veterinary help. The faster your dog is treated by a veterinarian, the better his chances of survival are.
1) “The Right Tack” by Patty Khuly, VMD, Bark Magazine, Sept/Oct 2009
2) “Bloat (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus) in Dogs” by Holly Nash, DVM, MS, Veterinary Services Dept., Drs. Foster & Smith Inc., http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?=2+1677&aid=402
3) “Minimally Invasive Gastropexy-A Preventative Procedure” by Dr. Daniel A. Degner, Board-certified Veterinary Surgeon (DACVS), http://www.vetsurgerycentral.com/proph_gastropexy.htm