Author Topic: Bloat in Sts.  (Read 13685 times)

Offline Goldiegirl

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Bloat in Sts.
« on: November 09, 2008, 03:46:24 pm »
Hi there!

About two months ago, we adopted a wonderful 4 yr. old St. gal from a local shelter.  I had posted pics of her and read about breed traits etc.

Today was a horrible day, she woke up at 6 am sick and vomiting and then later with the dry heaves.  She was pawing at the ground and just basically hiding like a dog would do when they are sick.

We finally got hold of a vet at an emergency clinic and poor Betsy had BLOAT and died.  My 7 year old is devastated because our two golden retrievers (aged 14) died in December and January of this year. 

Was there a way to have prevented the bloat?  Was there something we missed?  As soon as I saw that abdomen distended I took immediate action but start to finish was less than 6 hrs.

Any information you could share would be greatly appreciated.  She has left a gaping hole in our lives!!!



Offline Guardian Angel's White lightning

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Re: Bloat in Sts.
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2008, 04:30:16 pm »
I am so sorry to hear this!! I feel your pain!  Bloat is something that can be prevented by never ever feed when the dog is panting at all, it all is about least from what i know.  People here will be more of help to you!  BUt i know never to feed an hour before or after excessive exercise including just a walk.  Put water in the food before you give it to them, it bloats the food up so it doesn't expand in their stomach.  I am sure that there is more information available.  Again i am so sorry to hear about your loss, it is definilty a painful thing on both sides.

edit: Here is some helpful information about bloat from this site:

Bloat is a very serious health risk for many dogs, yet many dog owners know very little about it.  According to the links below, it is the second leading killer of dogs, after cancer.  It is frequently reported that deep-chested dogs, such as German Shepherds, Great Danes, and Dobermans are particularly at risk.  This page provides links to information on bloat and summarizes some of the key points we found in the sites we researched.  Although we have summarized information we found about possible symptoms, causes, methods of prevention, and breeds at risk, we cannot attest to the accuracy.  Please consult with your veterinarian for medical information.   

If you believe your dog is experiencing bloat, please get your dog to a veterinarian immediately!  Bloat can kill in less than an hour, so time is of the essence.   Notify your vet to alert them you're on your way with a suspected bloat case.  Better to be safe than sorry!

The technical name for bloat is "Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus" ("GDV").  Bloating of the stomach is often related to swallowed air (although food and fluid can also be present).  It usually happens when there's an abnormal accumulation of air, fluid, and/or foam in the stomach ("gastric dilatation").    Stress can be a significant contributing factor also.  Bloat can occur with or without "volvulus" (twisting).  As the stomach swells, it may rotate 90° to 360°, twisting between its fixed attachments at the esophagus (food tube) and at the duodenum (the upper intestine).  The twisting stomach traps air, food, and water in the stomach.  The bloated stomach obstructs veins in the abdomen, leading to low blood pressure, shock, and damage to internal organs.  The combined effect can quickly kill a dog.

Be prepared!  Know in advance what you would do if your dog bloated.

 If your regular vet doesn't have 24-hour emergency service, know which nearby vet you would use.  Keep the phone number handy.
 Always keep a product with simethicone on hand (e.g., Mylanta Gas (not regular Mylanta), Gas-X, etc.) in case your dog has gas.  If you can reduce or slow the gas, you've probably bought yourself a little more time to get to a vet if your dog is bloating. 

This information is not intended to replace advice or guidance from veterinarians or other pet care professionals.  It is simply being shared as an aid to assist you with your own research on this very serious problem.

Typical symptoms often include some (but not necessarily all) of the following, according to the links below.  Unfortunately, from the onset of the first symptoms you have very little time (sometimes minutes, sometimes hours) to get immediate medical attention for your dog.   Know your dog and know when it's not acting right.

 Attempts to vomit (usually unsuccessful); may occur every 5-30 minutes This seems to be one of the most common symptoms & has been referred to as the "hallmark symptom"
 "Unsuccessful vomiting" means either nothing comes up or possibly just foam and/or mucous comes up   
 Doesn't act like usual self Perhaps the earliest warning sign and may be the only sign that almost always occurs
 We've had several reports that dogs who bloated asked to go outside in the middle of the night.  If this is combined with frequent attempts to vomit, and if your dog doesn't typically ask to go outside in the middle of the night, bloat is a very real possibility.   
 Significant anxiety and restlessness
One of the earliest warning signs and seems fairly typical
 "Hunched up" or "roached up" appearance
This seems to occur fairly frequently
 Lack of normal gurgling and digestive sounds in the tummy Many dog owners report this after putting their ear to their dog's tummy.
 If your dog shows any bloat symptoms, you may want to try this immediately.   
 Bloated abdomen that may feel tight (like a drum)
Despite the term "bloat," many times this symptom never occurs or is not apparent
 Pale or off-color gums
Dark red in early stages, white or blue in later stages
 Unproductive gagging
 Heavy salivating or drooling
 Foamy mucous around the lips, or vomiting foamy mucous
 Unproductive attempts to defecate
 Licking the air
 Seeking a hiding place
 Looking at their side or other evidence of abdominal pain or discomfort
 May refuse to lie down or even sit down
 May stand spread-legged
 May curl up in a ball or go into a praying or crouched position
 May attempt to eat small stones and twigs
 Drinking excessively
 Heavy or rapid panting
 Shallow breathing
 Cold mouth membranes
 Apparent weakness; unable to stand or has a spread-legged stance
Especially in advanced stage
 Accelerated heartbeat
Heart rate increases as bloating progresses
 Weak pulse

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According to the links below, it is thought that the following may be the primary contributors to bloat.  To calculate a dog's lifetime risk of bloat according to Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine, click here.

 Stress Dog shows, mating, whelping, boarding, change in routine, new dog in household, etc.
Although purely anecdotal, we've heard of too many cases where a dog bloated after a 3rd dog was brought into the household (perhaps due to stress regarding pack order).   
 Activities that result in gulping air
 Eating habits, especially... Elevated food bowls
 Rapid eating
 Eating dry foods that contain citric acid as a preservative (the risk is even worse if the owner moistens the food)
 Eating dry foods that contain fat among the first four ingredients
 Insufficient Trypsin (a pancreatic enzyme present in meat)
 Dilution of gastric juices necessary for complete digestion by drinking too much water before or after eating
 Eating gas-producing foods (especially soybean products, brewer's yeast, and alfalfa)   
 Drinking too much water too quickly (can cause gulping of air)
 Exercise before and especially after eating
 Heredity (especially having a first-degree relative who has bloated)
 Build & Physical Characteristic s Having a deep and narrow chest compared to other dogs of the same breed
 Older dogs
 Big dogs
 Being underweight
 Disposition Fearful or anxious temperament
 Prone to stress
 History of aggression toward other dogs or people

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Some of the advice in the links below for reducing the chances of bloat are:

 Avoid highly stressful situations.  If you can't avoid them, try to minimize the stress as much as possible.  Be extra watchful.
Can be brought on by dog shows, mating, whelping, boarding, new dog in household, change in routine, etc.
 Do not use an elevated food bowl
 Do not exercise for at least an hour (longer if possible) before and especially after eating
Particularly avoid vigorous exercise and don't permit your dog to roll over, which could cause the stomach to twist
 Do not permit rapid eating
 Feed 2 or 3 meals daily, instead of just one
 Do not give water one hour before or after a meal
It dilutes the gastric juices necessary for proper digestion, which leads to gas production.
 Always keep a product with simethicone (e.g., Mylanta Gas (not regular Mylanta), Phazyme, Gas-X, etc.) on hand to treat gas symptoms.
Some recommend giving your dog simethicone immediately if your dog burps more than once or shows other signs of gas. 
Some report relief of gas symptoms with 1/2 tsp of nutmeg or the homeopathic remedy Nux moschata 30
 Allow access to fresh water at all times, except before and after meals
 Make meals a peaceful, stress-free time
 When switching dog food, do so gradually (allow several weeks)
 Do not feed dry food exclusively
 Feed a high-protein (>30%) diet, particularly of raw meat
 If feeding dry food, avoid foods that contain fat as one of the first four ingredients   
 If feeding dry foods, avoid foods that contain citric acid   
If you must use a dry food containing citric acid, do not pre-moisten the food
 If feeding dry food, select one that includes rendered meat meal with bone product among the first four ingredients   
 Reduce carbohydrates as much as possible (e.g., typical in many commercial dog biscuits)
 Feed a high-quality diet
Whole, unprocessed foods are especially beneficial
 Feed adequate amount of fiber (for commercial dog food, at least 3.00% crude fiber)
 Add an enzyme product to food (e.g., Prozyme)
 Include herbs specially mixed for pets that reduce gas (e.g., N.R. Special Blend)
 Avoid brewer's yeast, alfalfa, and soybean products
 Promote an acidic environment in the intestine
Some recommend 1-2 Tbs of Aloe Vera Gel or 1 Tbs of apple cider vinegar given right after each meal
 Promote "friendly" bacteria in the intestine, e.g. from yogurt or supplemental acidophilus
Avoids fermentation of carbohydrates, which can cause gas quickly.  This is especially a concern when antibiotics are given since they tend to reduce levels of "friendly" bacteria.
 Don't permit excessive, rapid drinking
Especially a consideration on hot days

And perhaps most importantly, know your dog well so you'll know when your dog just isn't acting normally.

« Last Edit: November 09, 2008, 05:24:20 pm by Holly »

Viking Lady

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Re: Bloat in Sts.
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2008, 04:31:55 pm »
I am kind of new to this site but I read your story and feel so horrible for you. I am so sorry you lost your friend.

I don't know about these things but I looked it up because I was distraught. When I typed in bloat in big dogs, the Big Paw sight popped up. It looks like all our big dogs are vulnerable and I had never heard of it.

They said they don't really know the cause but seems to occur when dogs eat and then have immediate exercise and they should have a quiet time after they eat. But it is also genetic.

You probably already know more than I do but the Big Paw sight did seem to have information.

I sure am sorry.


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Re: Bloat in Sts.
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2008, 04:40:09 pm »
I am so very sorry for your loss and the devastation it is having on you and your family. :'(

Unfortunately bloat is very common in large and deep chested breeds and as you have just experienced can progress very, very quickly. :'( :'(

I assume your vet explained that bloat is the twisting of the stomach cutting off blood supply and the ability to process food. This results in the building up of digestive gasses which cause the stomach to swell like a balloon.

Many owners of large breed or breeds susceptible to bloat will elect to have their dog's stomach tacked down so it can't twist as a preventative measure.

There are many theories on the causes of bloat, most having to do with how much and how fast your dogs eats and then how much exercise it has immediately following a meal.

The best outcome for a dog with bloat is early recognition of the symptoms and emergency care.

If an owner has never heard of bloat however, recognizing the seriousness of the dog's illness is not an immediate assumption, so please don't add guilt onto your already broken heart.  Here is a web site that may be informational for you.

Again, so very very sad.  :-[ You will find the people on BPO to be very supportive, so please use us to vent, ask questions or cry as long as you want.  :-*

Offline Goldiegirl

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Re: Bloat in Sts.
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2008, 03:55:46 am »
Thanks for all the information everyone!  I think that maybe we didn't realize the seriousness of it all until it was too late.  We just thought she had a stomach ache.

She did however eat several times a day.  She had chow and a can of wellness each morning and evening and was given chow whenever she wanted.

She had been underweight by at least 15 lbs. when we got her and the doc wanted to try to put on some weight.  The funny thing is that she was a very very light eater.  And fussy too.

However, the gulping of the water was indeed something she did.  She was a stray in Puerto Rico when she was found and I guess she had taught herself to drink when she could.  I had thought she would be an aggressive eater to but no, she really ate very little.

Gawd, the guilt I feel now because we didn't realize how sick she was  for several hours is killing me.  I feel like a monster.

Thanks for all the feedback!!!!



Offline DAMAGE

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Re: Bloat in Sts.
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2008, 05:21:30 am »
So very sorry for your loss. Take comfort in knowing that in the time she was with you she had a beautiful quality of life she had not had living on the streets. Yes, bloat has an increased risk with certain breeds of dogs, and often no matter what precautions we take it still can occur. All we can do is is make ourselves as knowledgeable as we can about recognizing the symptoms and doing what we can to minimize the 'known' risks. There are "Bloat Kits" you can buy or put together and a good vet will show you how to use it. It still means code red and get to the doctor ASAP but it might buy you a bit of time til you can get there. It seems these emergencies always seem to happen in the middle of the night or on a weekend. :(
Again, so sorry about your Betsy. I will include her in my Memorial Candlelighting Ceremony tonight. If you would like to know what this about here is the link:
& The George Saints

Offline maxsmom

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Re: Bloat in Sts.
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2008, 01:53:53 pm »
I am so sorry this happened.  Bloat is horrible and can take a dog so quickly. 
As a side note, I hope everyone is familiar with the accupressure points for treating bloat, please learn them and practice on your dog.  Our local dane rescue group swears by them.  They have dealt with many bloat cases, only a few requiring surgery.  According to what they have explained, you can actually hear and feel the dogs digestive tract start working and watch the swelling and hardness go away, as you are doing it.  This is something I do with Max regularly, not because there is a problem, but because I want him to be comfortable with it, if it is ever needed. 
Max  2 Irish Wolfhound
Jake  2 Great Pyrenees
Cody   3 Tibetan Mastiff
ChiChi 1.5 Caucasian Ovcharka
John and Nicki Maine Coon cats

Offline kristinmsn

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Re: Bloat in Sts.
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2008, 10:54:28 am »
I am so sorry for your loss of Betsy and also your other two golden retrievers.  My sweet 8 yr. old dobie Missy died from bloat/torsion a week and a half ago on Nov. 1st.  She was perfectly fine and in good spirits in the morning.  My husband fed her around 9:30 and she was also a fussy dog so we would give her a couple of small meals a day and half the time, she wouldn't even finish what was in her bowl.  Anyway, I got home about 11:30 from taking my other dog to the vet for routine shots.  About 1:00, I noticed that Missy was acting a bit strange, but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.  She used to experience an upset stomach about once a month and would even vomit some bile.  Vet was not concerned and said that some dogs did this.  The signs she showed me that day were restlessness, she vomited a couple of times, moped around and also hid.  I had seen these signs before so there were no red flags.  I didn't even notice that her belly was distended until my husband got home a couple of hours later and he noticed it.  That's when I called the emergency vet.  At that point, she didn't look good.  She got up to walk and collapsed but was still with us.  My husband put her in the truck and drove to the hospital which was a forty minute ride.  She never made it :(  Now, I sit here and blame myself for not watching her closely.  Again, I just thought like you that it was an upset stomach.  Had never heard of bloat.  I feel very guilty and wish I had taken her to the vet sooner.  They say that even if you take them to the vet right away, there is no guarantee that they will make it.  Bloat/torsion supposedly comes on pretty quickly.  You are not a monster.  You did exactly what I did and that was...acted when you saw that something was seriously wrong.  Hugs.   

Offline kristinmsn

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Re: Bloat in Sts.
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2008, 11:07:30 am »
Forgot to add that my vet told me that if I had fed her a ton of food, gave her a ton of water and put her outside to exercise for two hours, then it would be my fault.  Missy ate a little bit, had no water to drink afterwards and then just laid on the couch.  No running around at all.  I'm starting to think stress has something to do with it.  Missy had a very fearful temperment and was stressed easily. 


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Re: Bloat in Sts.
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2008, 10:13:46 am »
I'm starting to think stress has something to do with it.  Missy had a very fearful temperment and was stressed easily. 

From what I've read, stress/anxiety is a major factor, or at least dogs with anxious temperaments are more prone to bloat than dogs with mellow temperaments. My friend’s parents recently lost their Fila to bloat, and that dog was one big ball of nervous issues (very needy, extreme separation anxiety, fearful of strangers/loud noises, etc.).

Offline waffles717

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Re: Bloat in Sts.
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2009, 01:16:56 pm »
hello sososo sorry for your lose but the same thing happened to us, our dog was molly she four years old too, we raised her since a puppy got her from south d, she went out you night came back in coufging next morning she was died,vet said she would have made it any way they are find out some large breed dog that have food agretion has something to do with it my heart was broke but we replaced her with a male Beethoven he is 5mo know and 95 pounds huge and is wonderful,As sad as it is we never thought we were going to get over here she was our HOME!!!!Molly!!!
This Beethoven, he went to vet yesterday, he is 36 pound and only 9 weeks old!