BLOAT (Gastric Dilation Volvulus)
What is it?
Normally, the stomach sits high in the abdomen and holds a small amount of gas, some mucous, and food being digested. In the bloated stomach, gas and/or food stretches the stomach to many times its normal size, and causes severe abdominal pain. For reasons that are not fully understood, this distended stomach has a tendency to rotate, cutting off its own blood supply, as well as exit routes for the gas inside. Along with being extremely painful, this condition is also rapidly life threatening.
Signs to look for:
- drooling of saliva
- frequent retching and attempts to vomit (sometimes they may regurgitate a pool of foamy saliva)
- anxiousness, restlessness, pacing
- depression and shock
If any of these signs are seen - get your dog to your nearest veterinarian IMMEDIATELY!!
What will happen at the vet?
IV fluids will be started immediately to treat your dog for shock. An xray will be taken to determine if the stomach is truly twisted, or just bloated. Also, your dog's heart rate and rhythm will be closely monitored as arrhythmia's can also occur along with this problem.
If your dog's stomach is torsed (or twisted) they will be taken to surgery as soon as possible to correct this problem. The stomach will be untwisted, and then tacked to the abdominal wall - this will prevent gastric torsion from occurring again. If there are any areas of the stomach that are necrotic (dead tissue) these areas will be removed. Also, because the dog's spleen it located adjacent to the stomach, it can also twist, and if the blood supply has been cut off for too long, the spleen may be removed as well.
Your dog will need to be closely monitored at the vet clinic for up to 48 hours as complications can still occur. The incision in your dog's abdomen takes up to 14 days to fully heal, and he may still need additional recovery time before being cleared for duty.