My Dog Is Bloated. What to Do From Expert Vet – GDV & Signs of Bloat in Dogs

What to do if My Dog is Bloated?

Bloat in Dogs Information, Emergency Treatment, & Prevention. 

By Expert Veterinarian: Dr. Philip Allen with Mission Veterinary Emergency & Specialty

Signs & How to Prevent Bloat in Your Dogs

What to do when you notice bloating in your dog.

Your 6-year-old Great Dane, Luna, just finished dinner and is lying on the couch watching TV with you. She gets up suddenly &  begins pacing the kitchen. Despite your best efforts, you can’t get her to settle down. She retches, trying to vomit, but nothing comes out. You become worried because she seems agitated.

You notice her stomach seems bloated. Growing concerned, you bring her to your nearest emergency hospital where she is diagnosed with gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Luna requires emergency surgery to save her life.

What is Bloat in Dogs?

GDV (gastric dilatation and volvulus) is a common and catastrophic disease that primarily affects large and giant breed dogs.

GDV - My dog is bloated what do I do?

Great Danes, German Shepherds, and Labradors are particularly at risk, but the disease has been reported in almost every breed. Of the smaller breeds, it is most common in Bassett Hounds.

Dogs having a direct relative with a history of GDV appear to be at increased risk as well. Though not consistently supported by research, additional possible risk factors include eating fewer meals rapidly, aggressive or fearful temperament, or having a history of spleen removal (abdominal organ).

What does Bloating in Dogs Mean?

In this disease process, the stomach twists on itself. Because of the new position, the stomach begins to swell rapidly with gas.

This distension causes a number of severe and life-threatening complications including decreased blood flow back to the heart, dysfunction of the heart, and death of the stomach wall. Because these complications are life-threatening, emergency surgery is required to decompress the stomach. The vet will then rotate the stomach into its normal position. However, emergency surgery is only required in bloated dogs that are found to have GDV.

Signs of Bloating in Dogs:

Signs to watch for at home that could indicate your dog has GDV include:

  • Unable to get comfortable or rest
  • Retching without production of stomach contents
  • A firm, bloated stomach

If any of these are noted, it is necessary to bring your dog to a veterinarian immediately. After a thorough physical examination, the veterinarian will likely recommend radiographs (x-rays), which often have a classic appearance associated with the twisting and gas distension of the stomach.

If GDV is suspected, your veterinarian will recommend immediate stabilization and surgery. Surgery includes an incision into the abdomen, evaluation of all abdominal organs, rotating the stomach back to its normal position, and a ‘gastropexy’.

In order to prevent reoccurrence, gastropexy is used to securely adhere the stomach inside the abdomen to the body wall. Surgery without gastropexy has a recurrence rate as high as 80%, while intervention with gastropexy decreases recurrence to less than 3%.

What to do for Your Bloated Dog?

The great news is there is something we can do to prevent this potentially fatal occurrence.

If you have a large or giant breed dog, you may consider having a prophylactic gastropexy performed. This procedure essentially eliminates the risk of your dog developing GDV in the future.

Traditionally, this is performed through a large incision into the abdomen. Some specialty veterinary hospitals, including Mission Veterinary Emergency and Specialty, offer laparoscopic gastropexy. This procedure allows for a surgeon to perform a gastropexy through a very small incision with the use of cameras and specialized equipment.

This significantly reduces the invasive nature of the procedure and has been proven to be as effective as the more traditional methods of surgery. Your dog can also be simultaneously spayed in a similarly minimally invasive way or neutered routinely. Multiple studies have shown that the strength of a laparoscopic gastropexy is as strong as any of the more traditional and more invasive techniques.

Should I Be Worried for My Dog?

While GDV is a life-threatening disease, it can be managed with a high rate of success if identified quickly. Additionally, prophylactic gastropexy should be considered in breeds that are predisposed, or for owners that want to eliminate risks of developing GDV in the future. Please consult with your primary care veterinarian or the specialists at MVES for more information.

If you see bloat in your dogs or need immediate medical treatment for your pets, Mission Vet Emergency & Specialty have a 24 HOUR Critical Care Line, just for you: (800) 790-7766, call any time!

If you have other questions, be sure to reach out to Philip Allen & the helpful staff at Mission Veterinary Emergency & Specialty.

What to do for Bloat in Dogs

You can also learn more about Animal Welfare and Humane Societies in Kansas City,  or dog bite prevention and what to do if it happens to you.

Want to stay up to date on the latest scoop about pets? Sign-up for The Scoop now to get exclusive event invitations, pet info, things to do with pets in Kansas City, & so much more.

What to do When Your Pet Dies Unexpectedly

A good friend is hard to find, but each animal finds a special place in our heart. While the beginning chapters of Lady’s remain a mystery, we wanted to give her a well-deserved rest in peace. Lady wandered the streets until strangers picked her up as a stray and brought her to the local shelter where she lived long-term until my family adopted her in the Spring of 2017. That is where the final chapter of her tale begins…

what to do when your pet dies unexpectedly

Lady: The Final Chapter

We weren’t in a rush to bring another creature into our pack, but on Mother’s Day, Charlotte (my six-year-old daughter) and I took a trip to the local animal shelter. We previously discussed the possibility of adopting another dog when the ‘right one’ came along. We’d visited local shelters like Wayside Waiffs and Prairie Paws Animal Shelter, but hadn’t found the right fit for our family- until that day.

Lady hobbled inside from a walk with a volunteer when we met her- at that moment we knew she was special. There was a sweetness about her. A kindness in her eyes that instantly drew our hearts in. We knew we may only have a couple years together due to her age, but the instant connection made our hesitation disappear. Lady deserved a loving home and we were going to give it to her. After a few more visits and a meet-and-greet with Winnie, our 11-year old dog, we welcomed Lady into our wolf pack.

what to do when your pet dies unexpectedly

Given Lady’s condition (she had trouble walking & bad arthritis), we knew the transition into a new household would take time. But hope is a seemingly magical thing which made Lady’s transition much smoother than we anticipated.

What to do when your pet dies unexpectedly

The day we adopted Lady, she had limited movement. Even navigating stairs seemed like an impossible task. Each day I carried her up and down our stairs so she could relieve herself and enjoy time in our backyard with Winnie. I came to terms with the fact that Lady was going to need extra care– but she surprised me.

Within a couple of weeks, the dog that could barely walk was running (literally running) around the backyard and climbing the stairs on her own. I truly believe that Lady needed the hope, love, and encouragement that only a loving family can bring. Lady found her forever home and we found a piece of our hearts that we didn’t know was missing – and summertime was wonderful.

what to do when your pet dies unexpectedly

Summertime brought freedom for our dogs to explore outdoors and relax on the lawn. Together, they spent a few hours a day taking in the fresh air. When I opened the door to call them in, both would come running as fast as they could to greet us. Lady wasn’t just a cared for member of our pack, she became my friend.

I found myself looking forward to my favorite parts of the day, when Winnie and Lady would run towards the house. I never envisioned the possibility of Lady being active when we’d first met, but little did the dogs know that I cherished those joyful moments just as much as they did.

what to do when your pet dies unexpectedly

Over the span of a few months, Lady became an important part of our pack- part of our family. Fast forward to the night of October 21st, 2017.

As it started raining, I rushed to the backdoor to call the dogs in – expecting to see them both run in, excited to come inside. That didn’t happen. Lady got up to come towards me, but collapsed suddenly on the lawn. I ran down the yard and helped Lady get back to her feet. As we tried to get up the stairs, Lady collapsed again and that’s when it hit me – Lady was going to die.

I honestly can’t tell you how I knew, but I could sense it. I knew what to do. My job was to make sure that Lady, my friend, was comfortable and loved in her final moments. The progression happened so quickly, there wasn’t time to think much about keeping her comfortable. By the time we got inside, her back legs had stopped working all together and her body was shutting down.

I brought her inside my bedroom and we said our goodbyes. As I petted  and soothed her, Lady kept trying to inch closer to me – all she wanted was love. I finally moved her on top of me as I laid with my back on the floor. Nothing prepares you for having someone that you love die in your arms. It’s one of the most difficult things I have experienced but it was exactly as it was supposed to be.

Lady passed away in the comfort of my arms, surrounded by the love she experienced in her final months on Earth. I am grateful we were a part of her journey, no matter how difficult it was to lose her. I don’t know how her story started or what adventures her early chapters brought, but I know her final chapter was beautiful, and I’ll never forget her presence in our lives.

The aftermath of losing Lady was challenging because it’s something that I have never been through before. However, the experience is something I want to share with your family if you find yourself in a similar situation.

What to do When Your Pet Dies Unexpectedly

After Lady passed away, I knew we needed to have a plan of action in place. Given the fact that it was late at night and on a weekend, I wasn’t quite sure how to handle the situation. When your pet dies unexpectedly, like ours did, here are some helpful steps:

-Evaluate the situation. Try to feel your dog’s heartbeat asses if they have passed. CPR on animals can revive them in instances where you are unsure.

-Call for help. This is not a situation you want to handle on your own. Call a friend or family member if you are alone- we all need support.

-Be Quick. It’s not fun to think about, but Rigor Mortius sets in 10 minutes to 3 hours after death. Taking the necessary steps as soon as possible is important.

-Wrap your pet up in a blanket, towel, or some type of cloth.

-If you have plastic bags to wrap around the bottom half of your pet, do it. They will sometimes release some of their bodily fluids after passing away.

-Place your pet in a box or container to transport them.

-Know your options. We utilized Pet Cremation Services, out of Martin City, who were wonderful to work with. We called early Sunday morning and brought Lady to their facility Sunday afternoon. Pet Cremation Services reviewed several options for our family and handled our delicate situation with special care. From group cremation, where they spread the ashes in their memorial garden, to options where you can keep your pet’s ashes after their gone, Pet Cremation will help your family find the right option for you. Your family can find details online or call 816-941-2009. Pet Cremation Services handled it amazingly- so gentle and kind. I cannot begin to tell you how comforting their support was in the aftermath of Lady’s passing.

My biggest piece of advice is to understand WHAT to do if this ever happens to you. It’s hard enough losing a beloved pet unexpectedly. Knowing the next steps will make it easier for you in moment. Knowing what I know now, would I decide to welcome Lady into our family again?! Absolutely.

Lady’s presence in our lives wasn’t just a gift to her, it was a gift to our family as well. She was a gentle, sweet, and kind soul that we are lucky to have known. Not only was she our family pet, but Lady was also our friend. We miss her every day. When you have the chance to love others, both people and pets, do it. You’ll never regret spreading kindness and love.

From my family to yours,

Holli

How do you know if your pet needs chiropractic care?

How do you know if your pet needs chiropractic care?

 

How do you know if your pet needs chiropractic care?

 

Published on April 10, 2017

Dr. Kimberly Hunt

Animal Chiropractor & Rehab Specialist

www.chiro4paws.com

A dog (Bronx) was brought into my office with low back pain, worse when getting up from laying down. The history of this 8-year-old boxer mix included 2 major falls, several years back. One fall was from a second story window. The other was from a moving vehicle. After each incident, the dog recovered quickly, without medical intervention, and appeared to be fine. Fast forward several years, and those same injuries are rearing their ugly heads as Bronx cries out in pain.

To both their benefit, and their detriment, animals are amazingly resilient. Or at least they appear to be. The truth is, animals hide their injuries through a process called “compensation”. This means they shift weight and walk or sit differently to avoid pain. It’s a built-in survival mechanism since showing pain or weakness can prove fatal in the wild. Unfortunately, animals can compensate for only so long before their body breaks down. Eventually, Bronx was no longer able to compensate and started showing symptoms including difficulty getting up from a seated or laying position, and severe pain with certain movements. His x-rays showed spinal spondylosis at multiple levels (essentially severe arthritis of the spine) and narrowing of the intervertebral foramen which compressed and irritated his spinal nerves (ie: pinched nerves).

Fortunately, with several chiropractic treatments over a couple months, plus home rehab stretches, Bronx made a full recovery. He is now on wellness care with chiropractic visits 3 or 4 times per year to help him maintain his optimal health.

Here’s the unfortunate part of this story…Bronx had to become severely painful and physically compromised before his owners knew he needed help. So how do we avoid this?

  1. Have your pets checked by a certified animal chiropractor at least 2x per year when they are young, and up to 4x per year for older pets, and those pets doing a sport (exp: agility dog, Frisbee dog) or physical job (exp: cattle dog, hunting dog). The chiropractor can find, and fix, structural issues before they become debilitating.
  2. When you see an injury occur, even if your pet seems fine, schedule a chiropractic exam.
  3. If you see any of the following signs or symptoms, get your pet into the chiropractor immediately. Remember, by the time you see symptoms, your pet has likely been compensating for awhile.

*Hesitation to do normal activities such as climbing, jumping up, jumping down, laying down, etc.

*Limping. Limb weakness or inability to walk.

*Difficulty with certain movements such as turning head, lifting head, walking, trotting, running, climbing stairs, jumping, changing positions, getting up from a seated or lying position, slipping on slick floors, squatting, lifting leg, etc.

*Heavy and unusual panting, whining, or crying with certain movements or when being picked up.

*Change in behavior – grumpy, no desire to play, doesn’t want to cuddle, pulls away when you try to touch certain parts of the body.

*Signs of compensation – head held low and/or to one side, shifting weight from back legs to front legs, or from one side to the other, refusing to bear weight on a limb, laying only on one side of the body, arching back up, sitting crooked, etc.

If you have specific questions about this topic, you are welcome to email them: drhunt@chiro4paws.com. Please allow up to 24 hours for a response.

 

Disclaimer: This article, and any information provided by Dr. Hunt via website or email correspondence, is not an attempt to diagnose or treat animals. All information and/or comments are based solely on the experience, education, insight and opinion of Dr. Hunt. You should always consult at licensed veterinarian on matters of animal health.