Dogs with deep chests and large breeds are more prone to Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus. Bloat can occur suddenly and should always be treated as an emergency because it has the potential to be lethal.

What Is Bloat?

a sick dog suffering from bloating

Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), sometimes referred to as bloat, is a dangerous medical condition that develops when the stomach enlarges and spins, trapping gas and obstructing blood flow.

When the stomach swells with gas, liquid, or food and then rotates in the abdomen, it develops a condition known as gastric dilatation-volvulus. As a result, the stomach’s entrance and exit twist in the digestive canal, trapping material inside the stomach.

Additionally, the spleen could turn over with the stomach—necrosis results from the rotation’s obstruction of blood flow to the stomach and spleen.

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The vena cava, a significant vein that delivers blood from the rear half of the body to the heart, may become compressed as the stomach continues to grow.

Reduced blood supply to the heart, as a result, might cause shock, which is frequently fatal if not treated right once.

Symptoms of Bloat in Dogs

Bloat symptoms might vary from case to case and may not even be present at first. Contact an emergency veterinary facility right away if you have any cause to believe your dog may be experiencing bloat.

Symptoms include:

  1. Distended/bloated abdomen
  2. Nonproductive retching or heaving
  3. Restlessness due to discomfort
  4. Hypersalivation
  5. Fast panting or heavy breathing
  6. Pale mucous membranes
  7. Lethargy and depression
  8. Collapsing

Bloated dogs frequently show signs of restlessness because they are uncomfortable. It will feel sick, hypersalivation, and gagging or retching.

The dog will feel compelled to vomit, but torsion will prevent the stomach contents from coming out. However, your dog may regurgitate it because saliva cannot enter the stomach when swallowed.

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The dog’s abdomen might or might not seem bloated. Some dogs will vocalize when they are in discomfort, while others will become listless and withdrawn.

Bloated Stomach pressure on the diaphragm may restrict your pet’s breathing. Anomalies in cardiac rhythm might result from circulatory system disruption (arrhythmia). The dog may occasionally lose its balance or get sad and unable to stand up.

Causes of Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

Although the exact cause of canine bloat is still unknown, most researchers believe that the following conditions may make a dog more at risk:

Dog Breed

Deep-chested, large and giant breeds are particularly predisposed to suffer from bloating. Examples of these breeds include:

  • Great Danes,
  • Saint Bernards,
  • Weimaraners,
  • standard poodles,
  • Basset hounds,
  • Irish wolfhounds,
  • golden retrievers,
  • Doberman pinschers,
  • Old English sheepdogs,
  • German Shepherds.

Type of Meal

One large meal each day rather than several smaller meals can promote bloat.

Eating Habit: your dog may swallow air if it rushes its food when eating, which may cause its stomach to distend.

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Bloat is more likely to occur in a dog if it runs in the family.


Anxiety-related panting or strenuous exercise may lead a dog to suck air, which raises the risk of bloating.

In the past, breeders thought elevated food bowls were advantageous for giant dog breeds. However, certain data imply that elevated food bowls raise the danger of canine bloat. Most veterinarians advise that dogs be fed at ground level, though this is not guaranteed.

Diagnosing Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus In Dogs

Your veterinary staff will stabilize and assess your dog’s condition quickly. The vets will provide fluids and drugs to treat shock and insert IV catheters. Furthermore, your vet may carry out an electrocardiogram to check for cardiac arrhythmia.

Your vet may use medication to stabilize the heart if necessary. If the dog has difficulty breathing, your pet may require oxygen therapy.

Your vet should take an abdominal x-ray to check for stomach distention, gas, fluid, or food. Then, collect blood to conduct some tests, which commonly include a complete blood count, chemical panel, electrolyte levels, and blood gas.

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Treatment Of Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

The veterinarian will stabilize your dog and attempt to decompress the stomach by inserting a tube into the dog’s mouth. The veterinarian may insert a big needle through the abdominal wall to allow air to escape if this is impossible because of the stomach’s twisting.

The stomach will subsequently be put back into place during abdominal surgery, after which the vet will assess tissue damage.

If necrosis occurs, removing a portion of the stomach wall or the spleen might be necessary. Suppose the vet wants to stop subsequent stomach distention. The stomach will either be stapled or sutured.

Can Bloats Be Treated And Cured?

With surgery and supportive care, bloat in dogs is usually treated and cured. However, the risk of death rises if the illness persists for longer than six hours, if heart arrhythmia is present, or if organ tissue requires surgical removal

Prevention of Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus In Dogs

Here are three ways to prevent bloating in your pet:

  1. The surgical joining of the stomach to the body wall is known as gastropexy. The best method of prevention is this. To prevent the stomach from twisting, a vet must suture it to the body wall during a gastropexy procedure. Some vets advise doing a preventive gastropexy at the time of spaying or neutering in breeds at high risk.
  2. You can change your dog’s food schedule to stop gastric dilatation. Feed two or more small meals daily. You should ensure your dog avoids over-eating using a slow-feed bowl, maintain food and water at eye level, and avoid severe activity before and after meals.
  3. Separating dogs during meals can help reduce the impulse to eat quickly so that other dogs won’t steal the food by lessening this urge.
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