BLOAT or GASTRIC DILATATION and VOLVULUS
Bloat is a serious and life threatening disease that can happen in standard poodles and other
big breeds of dogs.
If this condition occurs in your poodle get to your vet immediately! Most dogs with
this condition die within several hours. Even with treatment as many as 25% of dogs affected will die.
In this condition the stomach will twist, then fill with air causing pressure on other internal
organs. This makes it hard for the dog to breathe and will put pressure on large veins in the abdomen preventing blood
return to the heart. When the stomach twists on itself it cuts off the blood supply to the stomach also. Once
this happens the stomach begins to die and the dogs condition rapidly declines.
Bloat is more common in large breeds with deep, narrow chests. According to the
university of Perdue the standard poodle is 8.8 times more likely to develop bloat than a mixed breed dog (for more info on
these statistics please visit http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2090&aid=402
There has also been proven to be a genetic component to this disease. If a dogs parents
have had bloat then the offspring are highly likely to develop bloat. For this reason most breeders will not breed a
dog that has had bloat.
There dose not seem to be on event that causes bloat. It seems to be a series of
events. Some scientist believe it may have something to do with swallowing air and not being able to expel it and relieve
SIGNS OF BLOAT
Abdominal swelling, non-productive vomiting and retching, restlessness, abdominal pain,
rapid and shallow breathing. Salivation may be a sign of severe pain. If the condition is allowed to continue
then the dog may do into shock and become pale, the dog will have a weak and rapid pulse rate, and will eventually collapse.
The stomach is decompressed and x-rays are need to see if the torsion or twisting has
occurred. Some dogs with GDV can develop a bleeding disorder called Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC)
where small blood clots develop within the vessels. Heparin is used to treat this. Dogs with GDV are monitored
closely for heart arrhythmia that can be caused from this condition.
Once the dog is stable then surgery is preformed to suture the stomach to prevent twisting
again and make sure it is in proper position and also to check the health of the stomach and surrounding tissues and
After surgery a dog is closely watched for any signs of infection or other problems like stomach
ulcerations and perforations, or damage to the liver or pancreas.
Here is a link to an awesome site that can tell you what to do in an emergency situation of
PREVENTION OF BLOAT
Be sure and ask your breeder if there is a history of bloat in your dogs lines.
To prevent bloat here are some steps to take:
* Feed your large breed dog three times a day instead of once a day.
* Be very aware of the early signs of bloat
* Water needs to be available at all times but limit it immediately after a feeding
* Avoid vigorous activities and stress for 1-2 hours after meals
* Use elevated bowls for feeding and watering (there is a study that was done by Purdue
university in 2000 saying that using raised dishes can increase the posibility of bloat. You can read this study here
However there are a lot of sites out there that still recomend the raised dishes so do your
research and make your own decision)
* Diet changes if needed should be made gradually over a period of 3-5 days.
* Dogs that may be more susceptible to GDV should be feed individually in a quiet area.
* Dogs that have already had an episode of GDV are at a much higher risk of a repeat episode.
Management to prevent future episodes should be discussed with your vet.
Here is another wonderful source of information on bloat.