Bloat in dogs - Dougal's story!

Posted by Angela Pinder on

Dougal after being operated on at the vets for Gastric Torsion

Bloat /Gastric Torsion / GDV - Dougal's story

A year ago last year we nearly lost our beloved poodle, Dougal.  It was a week after celebrating our wedding ceremony on a Saturday evening, when Dougal started to vomit.  It was non productive vomit a bit foamy and watery, so we put him outside whilst we cleaned it up.  Again, outside he was wretching up non productive foamy vomit.  At this point we had spotted some green leaves in his vomit which concerned us, leading us to potentially think he might have been sick because of the leaves. We immediately rang the emergency vet who asked us to come down straight away!  We brought Dougal back into the house and it was at this point we saw that he was very bloated around his tummy.  Being a show Poodle in a continental trim, made it easier to see this swelling.  He wasn’t  himself at all he lied down on the floor and wouldn’t get up.  We knew we were in serious danger at this point and suspected bloat.  The scary thing is it happened so so fast.  We immediately got him to the vets, bless him he was still wagging his tail at the vets but he was in so much pain and discomfort.  The vet took Dougal’s stats, they were extremely high and he had gone into shock.   It was a very tense evening.  We found that when they managed to stabilise him,  and opened him up.  His stomach had done one full rotation and was black from the lack of oxygenated blood.  The full rotation had ripped the muscle holding down the stomach.  When the Vets rotated the stomach back around luckily the blood rushed straight through and was healthy again.  If he had of been an older dog, or if we had left it 5 minutes later, this might not have been the case.  It was one of the worst experiences of owning a pet, having been aware of the condition; Bloat or GDV. I knew it could happen extremely fast and that the dog was in immense danger and speed to vets is the key.

GDV can happen at any time to any breed, it is a MAJOR EMERGENCY.  GDV stands for Gastric Dilation and Volvulus, also referred to as Bloat or Gastric Torsion, it is where the stomach twists and distends with gas.  It’s predominantly more likely to happen to deep chested breeds such as Great Danes, Standard Poodles, Boxers, Setters, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Lurchers etc.  When a dog experiences bloat, the distended stomach presses on the diaphragm and other internal organs causing problems with the cardiovascular system along with the respiratory system.  This makes it difficult for you dog to breathe and for the heart to get blood and oxygen around the body as it should do.  The dog will very rapidly go into shock.  While the stomach is twisted the blood supply to the stomach and also sometimes the spleen is affected meaning that the stomach wall and spleen can start to die.

Although there is no exact reason why GDV occurs, it is commonly seen following ingestion of a meal, or following strenuous exercise or even after drinking large amounts of water.                           

Dougal stats at vets after being operated on for GDV



Spotting the symptoms

  • Change in behaviour
  • More restless than normal
  • Increased breathing rate and effort
  • Excessive drooling
  • Unproductive vomit that tends to look like white foam/froth around the mouth
  • Pale white gums
  • As symptoms progress the abdomen will become enlarged
  • The heart rate will be high
  • Your dog may collapse

If your dog is experiences any of these symptoms get to the nearest vets as soon as possible, the longer you delay this, the less chance there is of survival.

We were extremely lucky that Dougal was able to be treated in time.  He had a Gastropexy completed which is where the stomach is attached to the body wall to prevent it from happening again. We collected him the very next day and nursed him back to full health within a week.  I am so grateful to the Katrina the Veterinary Surgeon and her team at Vets 4 Pets Preston out of hours team for saving our beautiful boy.  I am still surprised by how many people aren’t aware of this life threatening condition.  Please share this article to help your fellow dog lovers.

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