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Old 01-11-2011, 10:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (BLOAT)

Gastric Dilatation - Volvulus (GDV), commonly referred to as bloat or gastric torsion, is a life threatening, medical emergency that deep chested breeds, including standard poodles, are predisposed to.

Gastric Dilatation is when the abdomen swells with gas and can occur with or without volvulus. Volvulus is when the abdomen twists, cutting off blood supply to the organs. Gastric Dilation (bloat) can occur with or without Volvulus (torsion).

Signs of GDV/Bloat:
A bloated appearance through the midsection (the ribs look like they are expanding outward)
Drooling/excessive saliva
Nonproductive retching/vomiting
Restlessness
Weakness
Shallow breathing
Rapid heart rate (if it can be felt through the chest wall)
Pale gum color

Remember, dogs are very stoic. He/she may be acting relatively normal but something could be off. When my standard poodle had torsion he was wagging his tail, eager to please as usual. BUT, he was in obvious pain, rolling on his back and biting at his stomach.

GDV is a time critical emergency. If you suspect GDV/bloat please go to the nearest vet/emergency clinic as soon as possible. Keep your emergency vet's phone number in your cell phone and let them know you are coming to speed up the process. Every minute counts with GDV. The longer the stomach is twisted the greater the tissue death that occurs. If too much tissue death occurs, the dog will not survive - even with surgery.

Cause:
Nobody knows what exactly causes GDV. Some studies say raised food dishes prevent bloat or torsion, others say they cause bloat. Some studies claim food with citric acid should not fed at all. Others claim it can be fed but should not be soaked before feeding. Still, some claim it is perfectly safe to feed. It is thought that vigorous exercise right before or after eating/drinking can contribute to bloat, as can eating too rapidly. This is why it is generally recommended that you do not exercise your dog vigorously 2 hours before or after eating. Grain free kibble, canned food, homecooked food or a raw diet are often recommended and may reduce the chance of bloat. However; raw fed dogs DO bloat/twist as do dogs on grain free kibble, homecooked diet, etc. In fact, some dogs experience volvulus (twisting) on an empty stomach. Clearly, diet is not the only factor that contributes to bloat/torsion.

Finally, Bloat has not been proven to be genetic, though it can be familial - occurring within certain lines. I think this is largely due to inherited conformation, though other factors could be involved.

Prevention:
The only known way to prevent gastric torsion from occurring is by performing a prophylactic (preventive) gastropexy procedure (sutures are used to tack the stomach wall to the inside lining of the abdominal cavity). This does not prevent the bloating (stomach distending with gas), but does prevent the life threatening twisting part of this miserable disease process.

Besides prophylactic gastropexy, the BEST thing you can do is KNOW the symptoms. They don't always appear bloated. Restlessness, obvious discomfort, wanting to roll (kind of like a horse with colic), pacing, excess saliva, biting at side/stomach. If your dog shows these symptoms, there is no time to wait. Rush to the vet, emergency vet if necessary, and say you suspect bloat. Every minute counts!

Many people keep Gas-X (Simethicone) in their medicine cabinet in case their dog ever appears bloated. A small amount (perhaps 1 tiny softgel or 1 dissolvable strip) can be given to your dog to help buy time until you get to the vet. This should NOT be a substitute for taking your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Remember, time is everything with bloat.

Some informative links about GDV:
Understanding Bloat and Torsion ( Gastric Dialation Volvulus - GDV )
Gastric Torsion: A Horribly Unhealthy Kind of Twist Speaking for Spot’s Weblog
Great Dane Links: BLOAT
Bloat in Dogs

Acupuncture/Acupressure for Bloat:
Accupressure Point for Bloat
Three Mile Run Dog Acupressure Point: Acupressure for Arthritic Dogs | eHow.com
Dog Acupressure (not Acupuncture) Resources - Lucky Dog Health

Last edited by CharismaticMillie; 01-11-2011 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Mods, can we make this a sticky, please

Also, if anyone has any other helpful information or links please add to this thread!
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info. My heart dog, CH Obi San's Teak Kin Tora suffered and died overnight of this. RIP sweet baby. I hope painful deaths can be prevented by awareness.
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I was wondering - is there any age at which danger of bloat increases ? I suppose spoo puppies being still small in size can not bloat ??? Am I right ? Is 6 mos still too early or one should start watching closely even at that stage ???

Thanks !!!!
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Great post, Millie!! *thumbs up*
(No thumps up smiley, whut?)

Sutton, I'm so very sorry to hear about your heart dog. :(

wishpoo, I have read that older dogs are more at risk, but then again I have also read about cases in puppies (not Poodles though), so I guess it's better to keep watching them and not let the guard down no matter their age.
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Excellent post, CM. I was very interested in the information about an acupressure point for bloat. That is one of the few pressure points I know and use on myself - I must find it on my dogs, just in case.
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I have to point out under prevention a tack certainly reduces the risk of torsion but does not prevent it. My lab's stomach twisted a 2nd time after being tacked during his first surgery for bloat. They actually had to untack him to untwist his stomach again (I watched the surgery so know they had to do it).

A dog can bloat at any age although from what I've read it does seem to be more prevalent in the 6-9 year old range.

ETA-I have used the acupressure point on my lab when he was gassy and looked a little "bloaty" and it does work. For the longest time too I gave him Gas-X with each meal and whenever he was particularly gassy.
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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debjen, you're right. Henry is tacked and I still worry he could twist. If a tack does not hold up for whatever reason the dog can still twist. I believe certain types of tacks hold up better than others, the age/physical maturity of the dog matters and I would assume sometimes it just fails for no known reason.

My vet did explain that it is pretty rare for a tack to come undone. It does happen though. So moral of the story: even if your dog has had a prophylactic gastropexy its still important to be aware while its not likely, torsion could still occur and to go to the vet immediately if you suspect bloat/torsion. If its Sunday night, don't wait until Monday morning!

Wishpoo - When Henry bloated the specialty vet told me that for unknown reasons it is less common for young puppies to bloat. But it DOES happen.
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I forgot to add this disclaimer to the original post:

I am not by any means a vet or medical expert!!! This is just a compilation of information about bloat and gastric torsion to help educate standard poodle owners about this emergency medical condition. It is not comprehensive and if you have questions about bloat please talk to your vet.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks everybody for warning me about age ! I guess than it is never "too early" to stick with "good habits" *sigh. It is just so sad that this wonderful breed is affected with about "everything" under the sun
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