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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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
 

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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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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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Great post, Millie!! :clap2: *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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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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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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Discussion Starter #8
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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Discussion Starter #9
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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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 :dong:
 

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Thanks all for the condolences. She was an "older dog", but otherwise pretty much in good health...If you don't count the seizures she and her unrelated "brother" came down with- within a month of each other! Sorry off topic, but whats up with that?
 

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My Standard Markus -- Bloat Victim But Alive

Last Thursday night I took Markus to the emergency animal clinic. From 11pm until 1220 am he was in surgery.

I want to warn all that bloat can occur any time and is an emergency. If you think your dog has bloat -- get it to a vet immediately, not later in the day, not the next day, BUT IMMEDIATELY.

Markus did well and is home now after one post-op day in hospital.

Read about the signs and symptoms of bloat and be ready to act if needed. Bloat is not common but it leaves very very little time to act when it happens.

Mike

As one veterinarian told me -- "It's like an invisible accident happened."
 

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Bloat

Very sorry you both had to experience this. My Standard Bloated this past May and he had none of the text book symptoms. Please if you feel there is something very wrong with your dog insist on an x-ray.
Also FYI over the last couple of years there have been more reports of small dogs bloating and because it is not common for smaller dogs to bloat it is often missed at the dogs expense. Even with smaller dogs again insist on that x-ray!



The symptoms of bloat WERE there, but dismissed as cramps and discomfort from the gastroenteritis. Gastric torsion (GDV) was not even mentioned or thought of as a possibility
www.thedogplace.org/CanineHealth/Bloat-Gastric-Torsion-To...
 

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Our 15-yr old spoo bloated with torsion when she was 15. Key is getting to the ER vet quickly, so the stomach does not die. $1800 and a week later and she was back to normal. It must cause alot of pain, as our docile creature bit the vet tech as they were trying to work on her. She couldn't get comfortable that night, pacing, some wretching, but you could just tell something seriously was wrong. If we had waited til morning, she would have been gone... Even though your personal small animal vet is capable of performing the procedure, IMO an ER vet clinic is a better choice as they probably do 2-3 stomach tackings a week or more. More practice better outcomes.
 

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Wow, I'm glad I read this! I know you need to get to the vet ASAP, but does he show symptoms right away, or it doesn't "appear" until after it's done some damage? If that makes sense?
Like if he's rolling and stuff, would he have JUST experienced the twist in stomach, or was it before but it didn't hurt until it's near the end stages?
 

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Everyone animal that experiences bloat, or bloat with torsion has different symptoms. Bloat with torsion is the most serious as it will cut off blood flow to vital organs. Our spoo was just not acting herself, and could not get comfortable and would not lie down. She went out and ate grass as she does sometimes when she has a stomach issue. Some show up as wretching without anything coming up, but you will know something is seriously wrong and time is of the essecense to get your spoo to the pet hospital. It cost us $1800 and they gave us a 50/50 survival rate because they don't know how bad it is until they get in. It is extremely painful for your spoo, as our gentle lady bit the vet tech as they were trying to adminster the anesthesia. Our spoo will probably never have torsion again because her stomach is tacked. She still has episodes of terrible gas and stomach rumblings you can hear accross the room. Probably some bloat, and it is relieved with gas-x.
 

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My Dad's bloodhound had Bloat with a very bad torsion (they gave it a number...like a percent and it was high but can't remember what it was). Anyway, I was the one who noticed her...she in here pen ready for bed and I went to give her a cookie before bed and she was standing up, holding her head down at an odd angle and wandinging in circles moaning....She wouldn't even sniff the cookie (remember this is a bloodhound, she will eat anything). i knew something was really wrong with her but when I ran my hands down her sides they were so hard it was scary...really ridgid and tight like she was about to pop.

I woke my Dad up (he goes to bed early usually) and he and my Mom got her in the car and to the ER vet ASAP....They did did the surgery and tacked her stomach and she hasn't had any issues since. We got her an elevated feeder and make sure she is cool before she eats.

It was a scary night and from what the vet said a close call!!! I'd say if you even suspect your dog could be bloating don't hesitate to take them to the vet...always better safe than sorry!!!!
 

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One note, do not use elevated food bowls.. recent studies show that not only that it does no good, but it can actually cause bloat. If you animal, usually not a problem with spoos, gulps their food they do make a bowl that has a maze on the inside that makes them take small bites. Our older spoo used to swallow iams minichunks whole.. she was a gulper.. and hardly chewed anything.

* Wait at least one hour after eating or drinking before allowing exercise. This is the main factor shown to prevent bloat.
* Don't encourage your dog to roll over. Though a low risk, the twisting action has been shown to lead to bloat. In fact, some veterinarians do not rotate a dog over their back while anesthetized due to this risk.
* Feed 2-3 meals during the day rather than one large meal. However, be sure that you're taking the measured amount of daily food and dividing it into the meals rather than giving the once daily amount two or three times.
* Don't allow excessive water drinking immediately before or after a meal. Abnormal amounts of water have the potential to delay breakdown of food and lead to gas production.
* DO NOT raise the food bowl. While this was at one time thought to prevent bloat, a study in 2000 showed that this can actually increase the risk.
* Dogs who have had episodes of GDV are at risk for further occurrences. A surgery can be performed to attach the outside lining of the stomach to the body wall (gastropexy). While this doesn't completely prevent the stomach from rotating, it does lower the risk.
 
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