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Bloat, the Mother of All Emergencies
What you need to know about this life-threatening condition
One day after treating Bauer for bloat, veterinarian Shea Cox scheduled him for surgery to prevent the more serious GDV.

There is no quicker way to jump to the front of the ER line than if you walk into the hospital with a distended dog. Bloat is a life-threatening condition that I treat frequently, and a good outcome is time-dependent.

Last week, JoAnna Lou wrote about recognizing the signs of bloat and included an educational video of an Akita experiencing GDV (don’t worry, he survived!). This topic elicited excellent comments and questions, prompting me to want to expand upon it further. I hope to answer some of the questions put forth by readers as well as dispel misconceptions that could potentially harm your pet.

First, some vocabulary: Bloat is a condition when the stomach fills with air and/or fluid (dilatation). This can progress to a twisting of the stomach upon itself, called GDV (gastric dilatation volvulus). Bloat is often used to describe GDV, but there is a vast medical difference. We’ll get to the details of GDV in a moment, but let’s start with the most important take-home message:

If you even remotely suspect bloat or GDV, take your dog to a veterinary hospital IMMEDIATELY!

What NOT to do:

  • Do not give anything by mouth.
  • Do not attempt to relieve gas from the stomach with medications or by other means.

A note about the use of Gas X:  This medication may help to reduce the amount of stomach gas in the case of “simple” bloat, but it will do nothing to help your pet in the case of GDV.  The problem with GDV is not the gas, but the actual twisting of the stomach (think of a balloon being twisted in half, like when a clown makes an animal figure). It is the twist that kills, and a medication will not undo the deadly rotation of the stomach. Please do not waste valuable life-saving moments waiting to see if the medication helps! Taking an x-ray of your pet’s abdomen is the only way to tell the difference between bloat and GDV, allowing for appropriate intervention.

What is GDV and why is it so serious?

The twisted and bloated stomach presses on the major blood vessels that carry blood back to the heart, stopping normal circulation and sending the dog into shock. Making matters worse, the stomach tissue is literally dying because it is stretched tightly and blood cannot circulate through it. Intense pain is associated with this disease, causing the heart to race at such a high rate that heart failure will result.

There can be no recovery until the stomach is surgically untwisted and the gas is released. A dog with GDV will die in a matter of hours unless surgery is performed. For each hour that goes by, there is a greater risk for complications during surgery as well as during the recovery period.

What are the signs of GDV or bloat?

  • The biggest clue is the vomiting: A dog with GDV appears highly nauseated and retches but little comes up.

  • Drooling.
  • There is usually an obviously distended stomach, especially near the ribs, but this is not always evident depending on body configuration.
  • Anxiousness, agitation, restlessness and pacing.
  • Depressed attitude.

View some of these symptoms in the video we posted last week.

What dogs are at risk?

Classically, this condition affects deep-chested breeds, and dogs with deep chests that weigh more than 99 pounds have a 20 percent risk of bloat. Although a rare occurrence, I have also treated three small-breed dogs for this condition in my ten-year career.

There are many theories regarding what triggers GDV, but truly, no one really knows—it remains a veterinary medical mystery. Risk factors, lifestyle and personality profiles that may increase a dog’s potential for developing GDV have been identified over the years and include:

  • Feeding only one meal a day.
  • Having closely related family members with a history of GDV.
  • Eating rapidly.
  • Being thin or underweight.
  • Moistening dry foods (particularly if citric acid is listed as a preservative in the dry food).
  • Feeding from an elevated bowl.  
  • Restricting water before and after meals.
  • Feeding a dry diet with animal fat listed in the first four ingredients. (Contrary to popular belief, cereal ingredients such as soy, wheat or corn, in the first four ingredients do not increase the risk.)
  • Fearful or anxious temperament.
  • History of aggression toward people or other dogs.
  • Male dogs are more likely to bloat than females.
  • Older dogs (7–12 years) are the highest risk group.

On the flip side, the following factors may decrease the risk of GDV:

  • Inclusion of canned dog food in the diet.
  • Inclusion of table scraps in the diet.
  • Happy or easygoing temperament.
  • Feeding a dry food containing a calcium-rich meat meal listed in the first four ingredients.
  • Eating two or more meals per day as well as feeding a smaller kibble size.
  • Not breeding animals with a history of GDV in their lineage.

What else can I do?

For breeds with a high risk of bloat, a preventive surgery called prophylactic gastropexy can be performed at the time of spay or neuter. Gastropexy involves surgically “tacking down” the stomach to the inside of the abdomen to prevent rotation. If your dog has already been spayed or neutered, the same procedure can be done laparoscopically, and is minimally invasive. I had this procedure performed on my own Dobie, Bauer. I saw him bloat (and thankfully not twist!) one day at the park, and treated him at work. The next day, I scheduled the laparoscopic procedure.

This is a same-day surgery with a quick and comfortable recovery. In the Bay Area, the cost is generally $1,500–$2,000, which is far cheaper than emergency surgery, and worth its weight in gold for peace of mind. One of my biggest fears was to have Bauer bloat while I was away for the day, only to return home to find I was too late.

It should be noted that gastropexy does not prevent future bloat, but it does prevent future twisting, which is the deadly component of the condition.

What is the prognosis?

Decades ago, a diagnosis of bloat was almost always a death sentence, and only 25 percent of pets with bloat survived. Today, the survival rate is better than 80 percent! Part of the reason for this is increased owner awareness (go, pet parents!) leading to rapid intervention and treatment. The earlier the veterinarian gets started with treatment, the better chance for survival. Extremely aggressive medical and surgical intervention early in the course of the disease has the most dramatic impact on overall success.

This is a condition I see much too frequently, but I have to say from personal experience, nearly all dogs return home (95 percent or greater) with early and appropriate treatment.

Being the doting mom of two Dobies, this is a subject that hits close to home, and one I have experienced personally. Thank you to JoAnna for helping raise awareness of this all-too-common condition in our large-breed babies. Feel free to ask questions; I am happy to further elaborate on any area. For now, I’m off to hug my boy, being especially thankful that he is with me today.

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Veterinarian Shea Cox has enjoyed an indirect path through her professional life, initially obtaining degrees in fine arts and nursing. She later obtained her veterinary medical degree from Michigan State University in 2001 and has been practicing emergency and critical care medicine solely since that time. In 2006, she joined the ER staff at PETS Referral Center in Berkeley and cannot imagine a more rewarding and fulfilling place to spend her working hours. In her spare time, she loves to paint, wield her green thumb, cook up a storm and sail. Her days are shared with the three loves of her life: her husband Scott and their two Doberman children that curiously occupy opposite ends of the personality spectrum.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Stephanie O. | November 30 2011 |

I'm confused. We had always been told to elevate our boxer's food to decrease the chance of bloat. Is the consensus now that elevated feeders CONTRIBUTE to bloat? Can you point me to the research so I can share with others?
Thanks!

Submitted by Shea Cox DVM | December 2 2011 |

Hi Stephanie~ thanks for your question. Yes, elevating your pet's food bowl has been found to increase risk of bloat/GDV. You can google "Purdue University bloat study" and you will get many links showing the research findings. Your post just showed up today, so if you look above, you will see that I cut/pasted some of the findings for another reader. Hope this helps! Shea

Submitted by Anonymous | February 3 2013 |

OMG, OMG I just accidentally clicked on these articles and have been feeding my three BIG dogs elevated for years. Thank YOU for all this information and in the morning they will NO longer be eating in the elevated positions!!!!!!!!!
I am Carol Menke-Clark and it is February 3, 2013

Submitted by Kelli | December 7 2013 |

we were told that too!! I'm confused.......help!!!

Submitted by Kim | November 30 2011 |

When I worked at a boarding facility, the dogs we worried the most about were deep chested, elderly dogs who were getting thin as a result of their advanced age. Anecdotally, those deep chested dogs who were underweight seemed to bloat easier than others. We never had a problem with an older dog whose weight was normal. I do not see "age related wasting" listed as a pre-disposing factor in this post, so I guess it's not been identified as a factor. I do wonder if it will be in the future.
Good article though.

Submitted by Shea Cox DVM | December 1 2011 |

Hi Kim~ thanks for your comments! And you are correct about deep chested, elderly dogs as well as those that are underweight. "Age-related wasting" as a risk factor is essentially listed, just individually, so you are totally on the right track with your thoughts + experiences. "Being thin or underweight; older dogs; and deep chested breeds." Three big risk factors all wrapped up into one pet... then add the stress of boarding and you have recipe for bloat/GDV. I have seen many pets, too, come to the ER from boarding facilities for this- and I'll take this time to say thank you to all of you out there who are so in tune with those you care for :). Thanks again for the feedback! Shea

Submitted by Kathy | November 30 2011 |

Great article but painful for me to read. I had a dog die when her stomach twisted and I never really understood it until I read this. It was a horrible night. Question: she had a barrel chest. But is that relevant, or is it only whether or not the dog is deep-chested that affects the risk? I'm now wondering about my current dogs, who have narrow chests but could perhaps be considered deep-chested.

Submitted by Shea Cox DVM | December 1 2011 |

Hi Kathy~ barrel-chested and deep-chested dogs are somewhat similar in the sense that they are both basically "really big chests" which can predispose them. What breed/s was your baby and what breed of dog do you currently have? That can help me better answer your question. I am sorry to hear about your other pet that passed from this- my heart goes out to you. I am also glad that you have an understanding of what to watch out for in the future; I am a strong believer in knowledge is power and I hope this has helped in some way! ~ Shea

Submitted by Kathy | December 4 2011 |

Thank you so much for your reply. You've actually already answered my question. Until very recently I thought "deep-chested" and "barrel-chested" were synonymous, so my question came from my realization that they're two different things. I'll ask my vet about my dogs' predispositions to bloat or GDV. FYI, the dog who died was probably part lab, possibly mixed with German shepherd. My two dogs now are a golden retriever and an unknown lab type mix.

Submitted by JEAN EREMO | November 30 2011 |

I HAVE STANDARD POODLES AND HAVE LOST TWO IN THE PAST YEARS. IN LOOKING BACK, THEY WERE BOTH 13 YEARS OLD, WEIGHT WAS NORMAL, BUT ANXIETY OCCURRED JUST BEFORE MY MALE SHOWED SIGNS, I DID GET HIM TO THE VET AND HE HAD THE SURGERY, BUT THE WEAKNESS IN HIS STOMACH LEAKED AND HE DIED OF PARATINITIS. MY FEMALE WAS HIGH STRUNG AND HAD DIGESTIVE UPSETS MANY TIMES IN HER LIFE AND WAS OF THE SAME LINEAGE AS MY MALE. SHE DIDN'T GET PAST THE EX-RAY, HER SPLEEN WAS TOTALLY DISPLACED, SO I HAD HER PUT DOWN. I HAVE TWO STANDARDS NOW AND A MINI, AND HAVE THEM ON FREE FEED, THEY DO NOT OVEREAT AND THEY DON'T GULP THEIR FOOD, THERE IS NO ANXIETY INVOLVED IN THEIR EATING, AND I TRY TO KEEP THEM CALM AT ALL TIMES AS BEST AS I CAN. THEIR OBEDIENCE TRAINING IS TOTALLY POSITIVE AS IS THEIR TRACKING TRAINING. HOPEFULLY THIS WILL HELP TO KEEP THEM FROM
GETTING BLOAT.

Submitted by Shea Cox DVM | December 2 2011 |

Hi Jean~ I'm so sorry to hear of your experiences with your Poodles... it is difficult to experience this loss once in lifetime, let alone to have to experience it a second time. Just so you know, you don't have to keep your babies calm all the time to ensure they don't get bloat... they can run and play and do normal doggy stuff; the risk factor of anxiety refers to the actual "personality profile" of the pet itself, not what you do to externally affect it... basically, a high strung, stressed, fearful temperament *by nature* is the risk factor, NOT necessarily the act of putting them in situations of stress... I hope that difference makes sense. I send good non-bloating vibes your way for the two you have now :). Poodles are my second favorite breed :) Thanks for your comments! Shea

Submitted by Stephanie | November 30 2011 |

This is such a great blog piece and I truly appreciate all of the information and advice. My greatest fear in life is that my 3-year old Weimaraner (100+ pounds with a very deep chest) will develop bloat and/or GDV. I will definitely look into the possibility of the surgery and speak with my veterinarian. Please keep posting more information and advice!!!

Submitted by Shea Cox DVM | December 2 2011 |

Hi Stephanie! And thank you... I truly appreciate the positive comments! :) It sounds like you have a quite a big pup and I would definitely encourage a conversation with your veterinarian about prophylactic gastropexy. It is literally an hour or less procedure, from start to finish, in the hands of a surgeon with good laparoscopic skills and there is only 2 small incisions less than 1/2 inch long. Thank you again, I am so happy to hear that you have appreciated this information and I'll keep on posting... I'm out to help save our babies one blog at a time :). And feel free to request a topic!

Submitted by Terri H. | December 1 2011 |

I had a dog pass away Feb 2010 of Bloat. I came home from work and noticed she could not lift her head, i looked at her gums and they were grey. I took her to the vet immediately. They gave her fluids and sent her home because her stomach was not tight yet. I took her home and and hour later was rushing her to emergency but it was to late. It was probably one of the most traumatic experience i have ever been through. She was with my family for ten years and was like a child. I was raised with big dogs all my life so i am aware of this problem. It is hard when you know there is nothing you can do at a certain point and just have to follow through with the inevitable.

Submitted by Shea Cox | December 1 2011 |

Hi Terri~ I am so sorry for your heartbreaking loss; it is one of those experiences that stay fresh in our hearts for a very long, long time. Your experience illustrates how quickly things can happen and so I thank you for sharing your experiences even though they are difficult to do so.

Submitted by Gina | December 1 2011 |

Why is there nothing mentioned about dogs (esp. those predisposed to this condition) not running and playing/roughhousing on a full tummy? Is this not true?
I have warned clients not to feed their dogs their evening meal just before going to the dog park. But suggest they just give them a cookie or something to take the edge off till they get back from the play group AND wait until after the dog is no longer panting heavily to feed dinner.
Is this unnecessary?

Submitted by Shea Cox DVM | December 1 2011 |

Hi Gina! Great question! The running/rough housing on a full tummy has not really been proven to cause an increase in GDV... it is kind of like the wives tale when your mom tells you not to go swimming after eating (or, at least mine did, anyways! :). Essentially, there hasn't been any evidence linking this as a cause. One of the most important studies was done by Purdue University and below you will see a cut/paste from the actual studies. Most every scientifically based article/recommendation you will read will follow recommendations based on these findings. Obviously, a 1000 word or less blog can just barely scratch the surface of a very complicated disease process, and quoting medical studies does not fit within the scope of a "simple blog." But, with that being said, here is some additional information for you to read :). And thanks for your comments! Keep the questions coming! :)~ Shea

"Malathi Raghavan, DVM, MS; Lawrence T. Glickman, VMD, DrPH; Nita W.Glickman, MS, MPH; Diana B. Schellenberg*,

Dietary risk factors for gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) in dogs were identified using a nested case-control study. Of 1991 dogs from 11 large- and giant-breeds in a previous prospective study of GDV, 106 dogs that developed GDV were selected as cases while 212 remaining dogs were randomly selected as controls. A complete profile of nutrient intake was constructed for each dog based on owner-reported information, published references and nutrient databases. Potential risk factors were examined for a significant relationship with GDV risk using unconditional logistic regression.

The study confirmed previous reports of increased risks of GDV associated with increasing age, having a first-degree relative with GDV, and having a raised food bowl. New significant findings included a 2.7-fold (or 170%) increased risk of GDV in dogs that consumed dry foods containing fat among the first four ingredients.

The risk of GDV was increased 4.2-fold (or 320%) in dogs that consumed dry foods containing citric acid that were also moistened prior to feeding by owners. Dry foods containing a rendered meat meal with bone among the first four ingredients significantly GDV risk by 53.0%.

Approximately 30% of all cases of GDV in this study could be attributed to consumption of dry foods containing fat among their first four ingredients, while 32% could be attributed to consumption of owner-moistened dry foods that also contained citric acid. These findings can be used by owners to reduce their dogs' risk of GDV. This manuscript has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the Animal Hospital Association.

Diet-Related Risk Factors for Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus in Dogs of High-Risk Breeds

FINDINGS: VOLUME OF FOOD FED Malathi Raghavan, DVM, PhD Nita Glickman, MS, MPH George McCabe, PhDGary Lantz, DVMLawrence T. Glickman, VMD, DrPH

From the Departments of Veterinary Pathobiology, (Raghavan, N. Glickman, L. Glickman), Veterinary Clinical Sciences (Lantz), and Statistics (McCabe),Purdue University West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2027.

A nested case-control study was conducted among 1634 dogs with complete diet information in a 5-year prospective study to determine diet-related risk factors for gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Cases included 106 dogs that developed GDV; controls included 212 dogs without GDV that were frequency matched to cases by year of GDV onset.

Proportionate energy consumed from major food types and from carbohydrates was determined. Dogs were categorized as consuming either a low volume or high volume of food based on the median number of cups of food fed per kg of body weight per meal. Dogs fed a larger volume of food per meal were at a significantly increased risk of GDV, regardless of the number of meals fed daily.

For both large-and giant-breed dogs, the risk of GDV was highest for dogs fed a larger volume of food once daily."

Submitted by Anonymous | December 29 2011 |

Any suggestions on dog food? I use Canidae.

Submitted by Chris G | December 1 2011 |

We have bred Swissies for years now, and have had probably 5 cases of bloat over the past 25 years. I just want to add to your article that all of the cases of bloat that we have experienced had different presentations. Our dogs are crated at night and we follow the same schedule, feed basically the same food, rest dogs before and after eating, and sometimes they just bloat. Our first one bloated 10 days after a c-section and we discovered while they were trying to save her that her puppies were also sick - septicemia?? One bloated on a full stomach, one on empty. One was found in her crate just starting to bloat when I was letting the dogs out in the morning. Another was a housedog, and he just seemed down, laying in an unusual area of the house in the evening.

The best way to confirm suspicion of bloat is to tap on their flanks - if it sounds like a drum, get them to the vet immediately!! If they leave a big burp or pass gas on the way, well, that's the best result. (Thank goodness for vets that will rush to their clinic in the middle of the night to do surgery on your dog, and laugh while you smile sheepishly as you exit a smelly car!). Our vet did say that it was no wonder that the stomach twisted, with as much room as there is in there. Possibly a missing or malformed suspensory stomach ligament?

Hope this adds some insight to owners of large/deep chested dogs. And thank you for enlightening more pet owners to this problem.

Submitted by Shea Cox DVM | December 2 2011 |

Hi Chris~ thanks for sharing your experiences! And you are so right, there is a wide spectrum of presenting clinical signs, and each dog can vary greatly in how they present. I remember one emergency in particular that I treated this past year; an owner brought in her dog for "just acting off." On exam, her tail was wagging, she had a normal heart rate, I could *not* feel a distended belly, and she seemed otherwise ok except for some weak pulses... I was actually thinking it was going to be a condition known as pericardial effusion, where fluid gathers under the "heart sac" causing poor pulses. We moved forward with diagnostics as standard evaluation and I had a "Whoa!" moment when I saw a dilated and twisted stomach tucked up under her deep rib cage on the x-rays. Things changed on a dime and we moved into action for treating GDV. She did great, but it does goes to show you that what walks and quacks like a duck, isn't always a duck :). Thanks again! Shea

Submitted by Kay M | January 3 2012 |

I've had a total of 5 English Setters, and two of them had GDV (gastric dilatation volvulus). Both dogs were male show-type (bench/Lavarack) English Setters of correct height and weight.
I knew the sire of the one dog had died of "bloat", so I learned about the symptoms of bloat/GDV. Tommy started throwing up unproductively, was straining to try and poop, and was uncomfortable and could not lay down. Within about 45 minutes of the start of symptoms, we were on our way to a vet--unfortunately we were on vacation and had to go where ever they would take us on a Saturday night. On the ride to the vet, Tommy was going downhill fast and barely moving and I was afraid he might die, however when we arrived at the vet he perked up a little and walked in to the vet's office. I told the vet I suspected GDV, and when she examined him and saw that from the outside his stomach was not distended-- she said she felt it was NOT GDV and so she began a series of blood tests. She wondered if he ate poison or something bad. When all the blood tests were ok, then she finally said we'll lets see what is on an x-ray. Several minutes later she came running down the hall and said "his stomach is twisted, we need to do surgery right away". Of course it was hard for me to not say "I TOLD you he had GDV! Tommy made it thru the surgery and recovered so quickly that he was discharged in about 18 hours. The vet commented that she never had an owner bring in a dog so early in the stage of GDV-- sadly most people think "I'll see how the dog feels in 24 hours, and if not better, then I'll take the dog to the vet." Of course waiting is a death sentence for your dog. So, if your dog is vomiting a little, or attempting to vomit, and is too uncomfortable to lay down-- get them to a vet immediately, an x-ray will show that the stomach is twisted and surgery can start right away.
I had a 12-year old also GDV, and got him to the emergency vet so quickly that they didn't believe it was GDV either. Eventually they did, but stomach was only partially twisted. Did surgery and Arnold lived to be 15 years old.
There were several times thru the past 15 years when I suspected GDV and took a dog to the vet quickly-- but was glad to learn it was not GDV. So it's better to rush to the vet and get a diagnosis and cure than to "wait and see".

Submitted by Shea Cox DVM | January 18 2012 |

Bravo and HUGE kudos to you, Kay!! You reiterated a very important point when you said, "I'll see how the dog feels in 24 hours, and if not better, then I'll take the dog to the vet." ... If GDV truly is the problem, waiting 24 hours will be too late! And you are right on another very important point... you can not always tell GDV from feeling or looking at the belly- I would say 1 out of 10 dogs I see for this have a "normal" appearing stomach. Another good point to highlight... "run of the mill" stomach upset should NEVER cause very rapid clinical decline and seeing your pet "going downhill quickly" is a blaring warning sign that something concerning is happening!! Thank you for sharing all of your experiences and your most sage advice :) I am happy to hear you have had the best outcomes... all due to your proactive approach!

Submitted by Melissa | August 22 2012 |

Noah, our 13 year-old mixed breed, weight 45 lbs. developed bloat and GDV. Since it was a Saturday night, we rushed him to the emergency vet where he was diagnosed. The vet said that, despite Noah's age, the surgery was "doable" and the prognosis was good. He also told us that all his blood test results were good except his kidney function was off. I don't know what the creatinen (sp) was, but the BUN was 62. Noah had the surgery. The vet said his entire stomach was bruised, but there was no necrosis. He stayed at the emergency vet until Monday morning when we picked him up and took him to our regular vet where he stayed until Thursday afternoon. During the three days at the regular vet, things were up and down. His liver function was off, his creatinen was high, his BUN hit 78 and stayed there for two days, RBC was 18. The only good thing was his WBC which was normal, so there was no infection. Obviously, he was weak, but he had to be force-fed. I took turkey, ham and ice cream to the vet for him and tried to feed him. He would not eat. The vet suggested a blood transfusion which we agreed to. After that, he seemed stronger, his BUN and creatinen lowered, although not to normal levels and his RBC increased. The vet and I decided he might do better at home, surrounded by his people and fur families. He did eat, on his own, a quarter pound of sliced turkey and a quarter pound of sliced ham Friday night and he was drinking water until Sunday. After Friday night, we had to force-fed him. We could get only about half a small can of dog food in him on Saturday and Sunday and he would not drink water on Sunday. His first bowel movements after he came home, were very loose, but not watery, very dark and a little tarry. After four of those, the movements became looser and more of a gray color. By Sunday, the two movements he had that day after being fed, were basically liquid and the same gray color. The smell of all of them was horrendous. Late Saturday afternoon, he began wandering around the house, unsteady on his feet, stopping and standing in odd places, like with his head in a corner or up against a chair arm. He got stuck under the coffee table on the deck and could not figure out how to get out. Mind you, he had hip dysplasia and a bad right knee. Also by Sunday, he could no longer walk and, by that time, I knew what was coming. We continued to give him water with a syringe and, then, by dribbling water from a wet washcloth into his mouth. He was still pretty alert. That night, we put him on my bed so any of us could lie down next to him and love him. About 2:00 Monday morning, his breathing became deep and wet-sounding and he was struggling to breath. This continue for the next hour and half, with one of us staying with him the whole time. His big, sweet heart finally gave out at 3:40. Naturally, he pooped more and was actually still pooping several hours later.

Now, after all this, my question is this - was the emergency vet correct in telling us Noah's prognosis was good and encouraging us to have the surgery? Or, should we have gotten over our selfishness in wanting to keep Noah with us and let him leave us peacefully?

Submitted by Tracey | November 2 2013 |

We had a 12 year old GSD go through the same thing your dog just did. We were told she had a good chance of survival even though they had to take her spleen. Her stomach apparently had no necrosis as we got her to the vet very quickly.

She stayed at the pet hospital for 5 days and the same things, her liver was failing, she had heart arrhythmia and this was happening and that was happening. She was given antioxidants, a plasma transfusion, she was on meds for her heart, 2 types of antibiotics and pain relief. She started to do so much better and was eating and her heart and all other tests were great.

We brought her home on the Wed afternoon, by end of day Thursday she was the best ever. I gave her the meds for her tummy at midnight and she threw up a bit and her breathing was a little heavy but she panted a lot anyway. By 3 am she was still restless and I thought maybe she was in pain so I gave her a pain pill and called the vet. They also said she panted a lot so just watch her and bring her in if she vomits again. One hour later she crawled into a space between our bed and window and we had to pull her out. My husband and I pulled her out and she could not lift her head off the floor. I called the vet back and said we were coming in now. We put her on her bed and carried her to our vehicle where she let out her last breath.

I have never been so horrified in all my life. This was my sweet, perfect girl who never complained after everything she went through and she died in front of us. I feel horrible and wished I had taken her in earlier. They said they feel her heart failed and they likely could not have done anything anyway. We are beside ourselves as we truly thought she had made it through the toughest part.

We did everything we could for her and I guess the only thing that makes me feel somewhat ok with choosing the surgery is that my daughter and I spent 5 hours a day with her at the vet clinic and there was always someone by her side at home and we held and cuddled her and she loved it. At least I had the chance to do that but seeing what she had to try to overcome, I would never choose the surgery again in a 12 year old dog. My grief is so overwhelming right now I pray it will get better in time.

Submitted by Anonymous | November 12 2012 |

I am a shelter volunteer who took the lead in reaching out to recues in order to save an 18 month old pittie from being pts. When the group committed to Chica, they didnt have space at the moment so she was boarded at a local vet. One month goes by then through networking, she goes to get spayed at 2pm by another local vet. I picked her up and drove her to the boarding vet around 4pm. I wish I would have never took her back there. The morning comes and with Chica in heaven. The vet said she was feed half can of SD ID that nite. They study the body and say her gut flipped. I know stess may or can play a part in bloat. So then does the spay have a part in her passing? The vet also said she could have been drinking water to fast. Can they get bloat after one drinking session? Or is it something that takes time to develop? If boarders know certain breeds a prone to bloat should they take all steps to prevent it? Like not leaving them with a bucket of water. I need to ask them if they only gave her small amounts of water like they should. How much water is to much to give after a spay? When I saw her for the last time she was drugged up but I didnt notice anything outa the ordinary. I still feel like crap cause she suffered all nite with nobody there for her. Can the spay have played a part in her death? If she was not fixed that day would she still have passed that nite from gut flipping?I want to get to the bottom of this for Chica. Is there someone out there with any answers please..

Submitted by Anonymous | January 8 2013 |

Hello, I just read your story and that's exactly what just happened to my English bulldog. She was spayed this morning and I picked her up about 4:30 pm, she passed at 6. I took her to the vet that performed the surgery and she opened her up and said she bloated. Libby meant the world to me and now she's gone. Did you find anything out with your comment?

Submitted by Krista | February 1 2013 |

Hi, i have an American Bulldog going on 9yrs old and she has had a bloated stomach for a few
Months now. I have been to the veterinarian 3 times for it and have spent over $1000 and I still have no diagnosis. She was lethargic at one point and then we had a xray of her stomach and it was normal but did show signs of gas. She is going to the bathroom fine, no blood but, recently she wont eat her food at the normal dog.her liver functions are at 3200. Any suggestions... Anyone? Im afraid shes gonna
die

Submitted by Alex | May 3 2013 |

Last evening I found my neighbors dog in distress. He was laying in the middle of the yard with what appeared to be a bloated belly (his hind legs were not relaxed). He was whimpering and crying. I immediately called my neighbor and due to lax communication we eventually called animal services as we were convinced he was either dying or in extreme pain. We debated pulling him out of the yard and taking him to the vet ourselves.

At one point he did get up and sort of walk. It was very difficult for him though. He stumbled and seemed disoriented.

He did pee (frothy and greenish maybe from grass?) and he did have a small amount bile'ish diarrhea. He did both after we moved him (trying to get him closer to a vehicle). He didn't want to be out of 'his yard' and started walking back and that's when we noticed the stumbling, disorientation etc. Once he was up it was very very difficult for him to get back down. He literally did a downward dog movement (yoga for real) and sort of flopped onto his side.

I don't know if it was bloat or not. The owner refused to take him to the emergency room. Our call to animal control set off a chain of events that included making them take him to the vet. Based on the hysterical phone call I got from her it also appears they are removing all of the dogs from her home (last count was 11 I think). Yes I believe she is hoarder. The state of her living situation is deplorable at best.

My neighbor later sent me a text that said, "Wow $500.00 to tell me my dog has GAS!!".

Is it remotely possible that 'just gas' could cause him so much distress? I'm not sorry I called animal control in the long run and I'll deal with my neighbor being extremely upset with me. I do feel bad in a way though. Did we overreact and interfere in a way we should not have? This dog is a mixed Akita. His walk, when he did walk, was almost exactly like the one in the video only worse. In addition the state of nails were so bad in some cases they were curling into his pads (mostly on his 'thumbs').

I don't know yet if he is okay. I assume by the text that I got that he is.

Submitted by Kristy | September 24 2013 |

Our dog is 12 yr old Black Lab, Friday we noticed he would not eat,stomache was swolen, and he would just lay in the bathroom. Yesterday, his stomache was hard like and the under neath of his belly & back leg is wet like. Could this be the cause of bloat? We have had him for 12 yrs and are upset about this. Please help.

Submitted by Nicole | January 9 2014 |

I'm not sure if this feed is still live but I have a question about GDV and/or Bloat. I keep seeing that unsuccessful attempts at vomiting is the primary sign of bloat, what if the vomiting is successful? I live with my bosses and they have my money and are not home right now, but my Pitbull has been throwing up in bouts every hour since he ate earlier. At first, I assumed he just ate too fast but now it's 1 AM and he's still throwing up. I'm going to take him to get checked out when they get back but I know GDV is an emergency. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't know whether I should be putting on a coat and start a walk it the nearest vet (20 miles away) with him in my arms or if it sounds less threatening. HEEELLLP!!!

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