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Treatment of bloat in dogs

If gas becomes trapped in the dog’s stomach, the dog may have a condition called bloat. Bloat in dogs causes a dog to be unable to expel gas through belching or vomiting. Bloat is a serious condition that is a veterinary emergency.

If a dog has bloat, the dog owner is likely to notice that the dog’s abdomen has become distended. Dogs with bloat may have excess salivation. The dog may gag or squat as if attempting to pass a stool. Those with bloat are often uncomfortable and may pace.

There are two types of canine bloat. Gastric dilatation is when the stomach expands because of gas buildup. Gastric volvulus, also called torsion, occurs when the stomach rotates and flips and becomes twisted. With torsion, the esophagus and small intestine are twisted closed, so there’s no way for gas to pass out of the stomach.

Older dogs and large breeds are most susceptible to canine bloat. Canine bloat is often associated with a dog exercising or becoming too active immediately following eating. Eating large amounts of dry dog food at one time increases of dogs risk bloat. Dogs can develop bloat even if they do not fit the usual risk factors.

Canine bloat is potentially fatal. It is extremely important for the dog to be seen by the veterinarian as soon as possible. If a dog with bloat is not treated immediately, the dog can go into shock and cardiac arrest. If bloat is not treated promptly, a dog could die from this condition within hours.

When a dog with bloat is taken to the veterinarian, the veterinarian may insert a needle into the stomach to allow some gas to escape. Surgery is often necessary to thoroughly emptied the stomach and reposition the stomach if it is twisted.

If the dog’s stomach has twisted, the dog’s prognosis is less hopeful than if the dog’s stomach only filled with gas. Twisting of the stomach can cause blood supply to be interrupted to the stomach and spleen which can cause cell death. Cell death is permanent and decreases the dog’s prognosis.

If torsion was present, the veterinarian may suture the stomach to abdominal wall to prevent its recurrence. After the torsion has been surgically corrected, the dog is still at risk of infection and other potential complications.

Dog owners should avoid feeding a dog a large amount of dry food at a time. Dogs should not be allowed to exercise immediately following eating. Drinking a large amount of water at a time can also cause bloat.

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