Security Dog First Aid Level 2 (VTQ)

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Bloat and Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV)

Video 63 of 73
4 min 33 sec
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Understanding Bloat (GDV) in Dogs


The Emergence of Bloat

Bloat is a relatively common occurrence in veterinary practice, but the real emergency arises when it progresses to Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV).

What is Bloat (Gastric Dilatation)?

The Inflation of the Stomach

Bloat, or gastric dilatation, is when a dog's stomach, akin to a balloon, becomes distended with air, causing discomfort and abdominal swelling. This condition can affect any dog but is more prevalent in breeds with deep barrel-shaped chests, such as German Shepherds, Great Danes, and Weimaraners.

Causes and Triggers

Exercise and Eating

Bloat can occur if a dog exercises too close to mealtime, regardless of whether it's before or after eating. The increased intake of air during exercise, combined with food, leads to excess gas production in the stomach.

The Emergence of GDV

When Bloat Becomes Life-Threatening

The true emergency arises when the stomach twists, known as volvulus. This twisting can compromise blood flow to the stomach, resulting in tissue necrosis. GDV is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate attention.

Preventing GDV

Reducing the Risk

  • Exercise and Feeding Timing: Avoid exercising your dog within 30 minutes to an hour after a meal.
  • Meal Splitting: Divide your dog's daily meals into two portions to reduce food intake per meal.
  • Slow Feeding: Use bowls designed to slow down fast eaters to minimize air intake.
  • Feeding Height Controversy: Some debate surrounds the height of feeding bowls. Consult your vet for advice on feeding height.
  • Family History: Check if there's a familial history of GDV in your dog's lineage.

Recognizing Bloat (GDV)

Key Signs to Watch For

  • Unproductive Vomiting
  • Restlessness and Pacing
  • Abdominal Distention
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Symptoms of Shock

If you suspect GDV, time is of the essence. Seek immediate veterinary assistance to ensure your dog's well-being.