For humans, a little bloating in the stomach is annoying, but it doesn't usually require a trip to the doctor. However, stomach bloat in dogs can be extremely dangerous. If you are unfamiliar with dog bloat, you need to check out these five frequently asked questions, so you can spot it in your dog fast and get help.
What Is Stomach Bloat?
In humans, stomach bloat is abnormal swelling in the stomach, and it is usually caused by excess gas in the abdomen. The same can be said of stomach bloat in dogs. Unfortunately, veterinarians still don't fully understand this condition well, but typically, the bloat alone isn't the only problem. The stomach may actually twist. This eventually causes the stomach to distend and fill with gas, putting pressure on other parts of the body.
What Causes This Condition?
Because bloat is still not well understood, vets are not sure exactly what cause the condition. However, there are some breeds that are more prone to the condition, particularly larger breeds, including:
- Great danes,
- Saint Bernards
- Poodles (standard not miniature)
- German shepherds
There is also a common characteristic held by most dogs that develop bloat. They tend to have a history of eating a lot of food right before being extremely active. Dogs that have deep chests are also more prone to bloat, but that doesn't mean that smaller dogs are safe. Any dog can develop bloat.
What Are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of bloat come on quickly, so once you spot them, it's time to take action. One of the clearest signs your dog has bloat is a tight, hard, swollen stomach. However, there are many other symptoms to watch for, including:
- Excessive drooling
- Inability to vomit despite trying
- Signs of discomfort, such as grunting
What Happens if the Dog Isn't Treated?
Bloat is a serious problem, and you should seek immediate treatment from your vet or an emergency vet clinic if you spot the signs. Failure to seek treatment can be deadly. As the stomach fills with gas, it puts pressure on veins, arteries, the diaphragm and other organs. This can cause difficulty breathing and a lack of proper blood flow. Your dog may go into shock, develop a rapid heartrate or even collapse. Ultimately, without treatment, death may be the only possible outcome. The sooner you seek treatment for bloat, the better the prognosis, so make sure you seek help as soon as you suspect bloat.
What Are Treatment Options?
If your dog only has bloat, the vet will take the necessary steps to help release the gas and prevent the stomach from twisting, such as using a tube to give the gas an exit. If that doesn't work, the vet may have to make an incision to relieve the gas directly. Unfortunately, if the stomach has already twisted, emergency surgery is the only hope for your pet. Surgery is the only way to return the stomach to the correct position. If the spleen has been damaged from the bloating or twisting, it may need to be removed. If your dog only has bloat, the prognosis is well, but if your dog had bloat and torsion, dogs still don't make it after the surgery, especially if a lot of the stomach lining has started to die from the lack of oxygen and blood.
If your dog's stomach seems to be bloated, it can be a life-threatening problem. You want to get your furry friend to a veterinary service. For more information regarding how to avoid, spot and treat bloat, contact a veterinarian in your area today.