Stomach Torsion or Bloat


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This occurs when the stomach twists, trapping air and gases and blocking them from escaping. It's also known as gastric dilation - volvulus (GDV). This can lead to low blood pressure, damage to internal organs, shock. The stomach can feel very hard to the touch. The dog is very restless, may whimper, may try to vomit ineffectually and suffers great pain. THIS IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY MOST OFTEN REQUIRING IMMEDIATE SURGERY. Take your dog to a veterinarian that is equipped to handle this situation. Don't delay. During the surgery, Gastropexy is often performed (tacking the stomach to the body wall) as stomach torsion can happen again and this procedure will help to avoid reoccurence. Feeding small meals 2 or more times a day is recommended as well as a rest period after eating and before exercising. This condition is thought to be genetic and usually affects large breed dogs.

Causes can be stress, elevated food bowls, rapid eating, eating dry foods with citric acid, insufficient pancreatic enzymes, drinking too much water before or after meals or drinking too quickly, eating gas-producing foods, exercise before or after meals.

Further recommendations to avoid stomach torsion are:

Keep a product with simethicone handy such as Mylanta Gas (not regular Mylanta), Gas-X and so on, to reduce or slow gases. This is still an emergency that needs the attention of a vet.

Feed a high protein diet, not dry food only.

Don't feed foods that contain citric acid.

Don't feed foods that list fats in the first 4 ingredients.

Add enzymes to food such as Prozyme.

Avoid Brewer's yeast, alfalfa, soybean products.

Promote an acidic environment in the intestines with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar added to food.

Add probiotics such as acidophilus to food.

Prevent excessive or rapid drinking.

Here is a list of some the breeds prone to Gastric Torsion/Bloat - Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Flat-coated Retriever, Gordon Setter, Irish Setter, Spinone Italiano, Weimaraner, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Borzoi, Greyhound, Irish Wolfhound, Otterhound, Scottish Deerhound, Akita, Bernese Mountain Dog, Boxer, Bullmastiff, German Shepherd, Giant Schnauzer, Great Dane, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Komondor, English Mastiff, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, Samoyed, Airedale Terrier, Chow Chow, Beauceron, Briard, Collie, Old English Sheepdog and Dogue de Bordeaux.

See other dog diseases.