Bloat in Dogs: What is GDV? Its Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Bloat in dogs is very prevalent. It’s already fatal even in its early phases, if left unchecked, it can also be deadly. As this condition is extremely destructive, the said disease can readily inflict fear among dog owners.

Just about every dog can be affected, while some breeds are more likely to get it than others (more on this later). If you don’t already know what bloat in dogs is, then this article is for you.

Knowing the early physical manifestations of bloat could imply the distinction between life and death for your dog. Also, knowing precisely what to do when your dog reaches the bloat would be extremely helpful for you as the dog owner.

What exactly is Bloat in dogs?

Gastric dilatation-volvulus complex or GDV is more commonly referred to as the “bloat”.

It is one of the many diseases that is considered to be a real medical emergency.

So what happens to our dog do with the Gastric dilatation-volvulus complex or GDV? Gastric dilatation-volvulus complex or GDV may shock our dogs by stopping blood from flowing, eventually decreasing the quantity of working blood, making it hard for our dog to stay completely well and functional. The amount of working blood is decreased due to the buildup of stress in the stomach. Air filling in it causes stress in the stomach.

Similar to humans, dogs also go into shock if they do not have enough blood circulating in their body.

Usually, when the pressure is already built up in the stomach, the blood from the back limbs of the dog cannot successfully recirculate back to the heart, causing the back limbs of the dog to be paralyzed or dysfunctional.

But that’s not all, the buildup of stress in the stomach not only paralyzes the back limbs, it also cuts the blood flow from the spleen and pancreas of the dog. Unfortunately, oxygen can not reach the pancreas without sufficient blood circulation, and when the pancreas is deprived of oxygen, it begins emitting very toxic hormones that can take the life of a dog very rapidly. Indeed, one of the hazardous hormones that the pancreas begins to emit when it lacks oxygen targets explicitly the heart, causing it to stop, apparently from nowhere.

This is why bloat or Gastric dilatation-volvulus complex (GDV) is incredibly dangerous, and this is also why you should know about this. Without proper care, bloat can quickly take a dog’s life.

Knowing what to do at the time of crisis means a lot for the future and well-being of your little furry friend.

What are the Symptoms of Bloat in Dogs?

If you see any of these symptoms on your dog, call your vet immediately.

Bloat or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus Complex (GDV) generally occur pretty rapidly, and if you missed the early symptoms, your furry companion might find it more difficult to recover. So what are the early signs that could suggest Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus Complex (GDV) to your dog?

Your dog might have bloat if he:

  • Gets too fidgety – if your dog is acting too restlessly, he may be experiencing some discomfort. Keep a close eye on him and watch out for any other symptoms, he might be just eager to poop or play.
  • Has a swollen or enlarged stomach – if his stomach is visually larger than usual, try to gently press his stomach and see if there is an air buildup. If yes, your dog might have Gastric dilatation-volvulus complex (GDV).
  • Drools – when dogs are ill or feeling any discomfort, especially around the stomach region, they tend to drool.
  • Keeps looking at his stomach – this one is like a giveaway, in addition to the swollen stomach, if your dog keeps looking at it, there is something troubling in his stomach.
  • Keeps pacing himself – as the situation quickly gets worse, your dog might panic and start pacing.
  • Attempts to vomit – your dog will try to resolve the issue himself through means that he knows how. If he’s feeling some discomfort on his stomach, he might try to vomit and empty his stomach.

As the condition of your dog worsens, he might:

  • Feel weak – if he’s toned down with the pacing and began to settle in one place, the stress in his stomach may already have deteriorated, paralyzing or about to paralyze his rear limbs.
  • Have a rapid heartbeat – once his heart notices that not enough blood is coming back to power his entire body, his heart will attempt to keep up by raising your dog’s blood pressure and heartbeat.
  • Catch his breath a lot – with what’s happening to the body of your dog, breathing in rapid succession is an instinctive response from them.
  • Collapse – the whole situation might be too much for your dog mentally, physically, and emotionally, causing collapsing of your dog.

Do not wait for the situation to be out of hand. If you think that your dog has Gastric dilatation-volvulus complex (GDV), take it to the vet right away.

Any form of hesitation could mean life or death for your dog.

What Causes Dogs to Bloat?

Researchers and veterinarians have been asking since the disease’s early discovery: “Why dogs bloat?”Unfortunately, nobody understands, not just yet, any response to the question. What we know is that the stomach is filled with air, the pressure is increased and the stomach is twisted. Strangely enough, no one understands whether the twist causes the stomach to be pressurized or the stomach to be air-filled causes the stomach to twist.

Veterinarians and researchers are still unable to pinpoint the root cause of why dogs get Gastric dilatation-volvulus complex (GDV). However, there are a few things that are known to raise a dog’s risk of getting bloat, like:

  • Eating too much
  • Eating one large meal for the entire day
  • Eating from an elevated food bowl
  • Eating quickly
  • Playing, jumping, running right after eating
  • Drinking too much
  • Any form of stress for the dog

Who can be affected?

Just about any breed of dog can be affected; however, based on statistics and research, some breeds are more likely to get it than others.

Research suggests that Gastric dilatation-volvulus complex (GDV) or bloat is a lot more common in breeds with large physique and deep chests like the following:

What is the treatment for Bloat in Dogs?

Gastric dilatation-volvulus complex (GDV) or bloat in dogs is a severe condition that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is very dangerous for our dog’s health, and no dog is completely safe from it.

Do you understand what you can do in an unfortunate case where your dog gets Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus Complex (GDV)? Do you know what to do? Do you know anything you can do to assist your dog?

Bloat has no natural or fundamental home remedy that you can easily follow, unlike other dog illnesses like diarrhea or cold. Once your dog has been given Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus Complex (GDV), only a skilled veterinarian can now help him.

So what can you do and what must you do? It’s easy, once you find out your dog has Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus Complex (GDV) based on the symptoms I shared earlier, don’t panic, and immediately bring your dog to the nearest dog clinic or your specialist veterinarian as if your dog’s life depends on it -because it does.

The treatment or operation pursued by your veterinarian to heal your dog is extremely dependent on the situation of your dog. If you could bring your dog to the vet before the situation got worse, your vet could heal your dog by non-surgical means. If not, we’ll have to do surgery.

The very first thing you might see your vet do is to bring a tube into your dog’s mouth, down his neck, and into his stomach to release the inside pressure. If the stomach is twisted already, it may not be trimmed by the tube. Placing the pipe and releasing stress through this means would be much difficult.

If the stomach of your pooch is already twisted once you took him to the vet, your vet might decide to pierce your dog’s belly with a hollow needle to get to the stomach and release the pressure.

Once that is taken care of, your vet will address the shock of the dog by giving him the necessary fluids and nutrients through an IV, antibiotics might also be given to your dog.

Don’t be alarmed if your professional veterinarian tells you that your dog needs to undergo an X-ray immediately, and this is a normal and standard procedure, used to determine whether or not the stomach is twisted.

If and when your vet discovers that your dog’s stomach is twisted, emergency surgery will have to be done to your dog instantly to fix the stomach, untwist what is twisted, and put everything back in its normal position. After that, the vet will also check the other parts if they were affected by the Gastric dilatation-volvulus complex (GDV).

Can Bloat in Dogs be prevented?

Like I said earlier, no one knows precisely how and why dogs bloat. However, some vets and researchers found that having some of these practices decreases the risk of your dog having Gastric dilatation-volvulus complex (GDV):

  • DO NOT let your dog play or run after eating, wait for a few minutes before allowing your dog to play and run again.
  • DO NOT feed your dog off of raised dog bowls unless you were specifically instructed by your professional vet to do so.
  • Divide the meals of the day into small bits and feed your dog slowly, don’t give the entire food for the day in one go.
  • Keep your dog hydrated.

Gastric dilatation-volvulus complex (GDV) or bloat can be very threatening, but with the proper knowledge of it, you can face the bloat without a hint of fear for you and your dog.

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