Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

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Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

Post by amber » 24 Apr 2010, 23:03

This is some information on Bloat cross posted from Doodle post.
The jury is still out on elevated feeding bowls so don't panic!

Bloat is a very serious health risk for many dogs, yet many dog owners know very little about it. It is the second leading killer of dogs, after cancer. It is frequently reported that deep-chested dogs, such as German Shepherds, Great Danes, and Dobermans are particularly at risk. This page provides links to information on bloat and summarizes some of the key points we found in the sites we researched. Although we have summarized information we found about possible symptoms, causes, methods of prevention, and breeds at risk, we cannot attest to the accuracy. Please consult with your veterinarian for medical information.

If you believe your dog is experiencing bloat, please get your dog to a veterinarian immediately! Bloat can kill in less than an hour, so time is of the essence. Call your vet to alert them you're on your way with a suspected bloat case. Better to be safe than sorry!

The technical name for bloat is "Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus" ("GDV"). Bloating of the stomach is often related to swallowed air (although food and fluid can also be present). It usually happens when there's an abnormal accumulation of air, fluid, and/or foam in the stomach ("gastric dilatation"). Stress can be a significant contributing factor also. Bloat can occur with or without "volvulus" (twisting). As the stomach swells, it may rotate 90° to 360°, twisting between its fixed attachments at the esophagus (food tube) and at the duodenum (the upper intestine). The twisting stomach traps air, food, and water in the stomach. The bloated stomach obstructs veins in the abdomen, leading to low blood pressure, shock, and damage to internal organs. The combined effect can quickly kill a dog.

Be prepared! Know in advance what you would do if your dog bloated.

If your regular vet doesn't have 24-hour emergency service, know which nearby vet you would use. Keep the phone number handy.
Always keep a product with simethicone on hand (e.g., Mylanta Gas (not regular Mylanta), Gas-X, etc.) in case your dog has gas. If you can reduce or slow the gas, you've probably bought yourself a little more time to get to a vet if your dog is bloating.

This information is not intended to replace advice or guidance from veterinarians or other pet care professionals. It is simply being shared as an aid to assist you with your own research on this very serious problem.

Typical symptoms often include some (but not necessarily all) of the following, according to the links below. Unfortunately, from the onset of the first symptoms you have very little time (sometimes minutes, sometimes hours) to get immediate medical attention for your dog. Know your dog and know when it's not acting right.

Attempts to vomit (usually unsuccessful); may occur every 5-30 minutes This seems to be one of the most common symptoms & has been referred to as the "hallmark symptom"
"Unsuccessful vomiting" means either nothing comes up or possibly just foam and/or mucous comes up

Doesn't act like usual self Perhaps the earliest warning sign and may be the only sign that almost always occurs
We've had several reports that dogs who bloated asked to go outside in the middle of the night. If this is combined with frequent attempts to vomit, and if your dog doesn't typically ask to go outside in the middle of the night, bloat is a very real possibility.

Significant anxiety and restlessness
One of the earliest warning signs and seems fairly typical
"Hunched up" or "roached up" appearance
This seems to occur fairly frequently
Lack of normal gurgling and digestive sounds in the tummy Many dog owners report this after putting their ear to their dog's tummy.
If your dog shows any bloat symptoms, you may want to try this immediately.

Bloated abdomen that may feel tight (like a drum)
Despite the term "bloat," many times this symptom never occurs or is not apparent
Pale or off-color gums
Dark red in early stages, white or blue in later stages
Unproductive gagging
Heavy salivating or drooling
Foamy mucous around the lips, or vomiting foamy mucous
Unproductive attempts to defecate
Licking the air
Seeking a hiding place
Looking at their side or other evidence of abdominal pain or discomfort
May refuse to lie down or even sit down
May stand spread-legged
May curl up in a ball or go into a praying or crouched position
May attempt to eat small stones and twigs
Drinking excessively
Heavy or rapid panting
Shallow breathing
Cold mouth membranes
Apparent weakness; unable to stand or has a spread-legged stance
Especially in advanced stage
Accelerated heartbeat
Heart rate increases as bloating progresses
Weak pulse


According to the links below, it is thought that the following may be the primary contributors to bloat. To calculate a dog's lifetime risk of bloat according to Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine, click here.

Stress Dog shows, mating, whelping, boarding, change in routine, new dog in household, etc.
Although purely anecdotal, we've heard of too many cases where a dog bloated after another dog (particularly a 3rd dog) was brought into the household; perhaps due to stress regarding pack order.
Activities that result in gulping air

Eating habits, especially... Elevated food bowls
Rapid eating
Eating dry foods that contain citric acid as a preservative (the risk is even worse if the owner moistens the food)
Eating dry foods that contain fat among the first four ingredients
Insufficient pancreatic enzymes, such as Trypsin (a pancreatic enzyme present in meat)
Dogs with untreated Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) and/or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) generally produce more gas and thus are at greater risk New
Dilution of gastric juices necessary for complete digestion by drinking too much water before or after eating
Eating gas-producing foods (especially soybean products, brewer's yeast, and alfalfa)
Drinking too much water too quickly (can cause gulping of air)

Exercise before and especially after eating
Heredity Especially having a first-degree relative who has bloated
Dogs who have untreated Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) are considered more prone to bloat New
Gas is associated with incomplete digestion

Build & Physical Characteristics Having a deep and narrow chest compared to other dogs of the same breed
Older dogs
Big dogs
Being underweight

Disposition Fearful or anxious temperament
Prone to stress
History of aggression toward other dogs or people

Some of the advice in the links below for reducing the chances of bloat are:

Avoid highly stressful situations. If you can't avoid them, try to minimize the stress as much as possible. Be extra watchful.
Can be brought on by visits to the vet, dog shows, mating, whelping, boarding, new dog in household, change in routine, etc. Revised
Do not use an elevated food bowl
Do not exercise for at least an hour (longer if possible) before and especially after eating
Particularly avoid vigorous exercise and don't permit your dog to roll over, which could cause the stomach to twist
Do not permit rapid eating
Feed 2 or 3 meals daily, instead of just one
Do not give water one hour before or after a meal
It dilutes the gastric juices necessary for proper digestion, which leads to gas production.
Always keep a product with simethicone (e.g., Mylanta Gas (not regular Mylanta), Phazyme, Gas-X, etc.) on hand to treat gas symptoms.
Some recommend giving your dog simethicone immediately if your dog burps more than once or shows other signs of gas.
Some report relief of gas symptoms with 1/2 tsp of nutmeg or the homeopathic remedy Nux moschata 30
Allow access to fresh water at all times, except before and after meals
Make meals a peaceful, stress-free time
When switching dog food, do so gradually (allow several weeks)
Do not feed dry food exclusively
Feed a high-protein (>30%) diet, particularly of raw meat
If feeding dry food, avoid foods that contain fat as one of the first four ingredients
If feeding dry foods, avoid foods that contain citric acid
If you must use a dry food containing citric acid, do not pre-moisten the food
If feeding dry food, select one that includes rendered meat meal with bone product among the first four ingredients
Reduce carbohydrates as much as possible (e.g., typical in many commercial dog biscuits)
Feed a high-quality diet
Whole, unprocessed foods are especially beneficial
Feed adequate amount of fiber (for commercial dog food, at least 3.00% crude fiber)
Add an enzyme product to food (e.g., Prozyme)
Include herbs specially mixed for pets that reduce gas (e.g., N.R. Special Blend)
Avoid brewer's yeast, alfalfa, and soybean products
Promote an acidic environment in the intestine
Some recommend 1-2 Tbs of Aloe Vera Gel or 1 Tbs of apple cider vinegar given right after each meal
Promote "friendly" bacteria in the intestine, e.g. from supplemental acidophilus
Avoids fermentation of carbohydrates, which can
cause gas quickly. This is especially a concern when antibiotics are given since they tend to reduce levels of "friendly" bacteria.
Don't permit excessive, rapid drinking
Especially a consideration on hot days

And perhaps most importantly, know your dog well so you'll know when your dog just isn't acting normally.

info provided courtesy of Please see the link for other studies and more information.

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Re: Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

Post by trinared » 25 Apr 2010, 09:40

amber wrote:Do not give water one hour before or after a meal
It dilutes the gastric juices necessary for proper digestion, which leads to gas production.
Do not feed dry food exclusively
Thank you for posting this. I am certainly better informed now and realise that common sense also needs to prevail, however these two recommendations above do worry me as I thought it best to always have water available at meal time, and also know lots of people do feed dry food exclusively.
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Re: Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

Post by Bid » 25 Apr 2010, 09:54

Was the quote originally from an American site? Can you get simethicone in a preparation suitable for dog in the UK?
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Re: Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

Post by Clairejen » 25 Apr 2010, 09:56

Thanks Linda, this is useful to know, and in a situation where there is bloat, could save lives.

I do hope it doesn't cause undue panic among owners, as many of the symptoms are common to other less dangerous conditions.
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Re: Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

Post by frosty » 25 Apr 2010, 11:42

Thanks for posting Li, its a good all round general guide regarding Gastric Torsion.

Funnily enough I had to write an essay on Bloat for one of my Course Modules, and get "scientific" evidence and the most up to date type info for it.

A couple of things were uncovered as follows:

the air in the stomach of dogs with true bloat ( the stomach twists) is trapped room air, not fermentation gases from stomach contents. And many dogs who bloat have empty stomachs.

Older theories suggested that bloat occurred when a dog ate a large meal of dry food , followed by drinking lots of water which caused the food to swell. They were also more at risk if strenuous exercise occurred too soon after eating. Although this is one of the most common explanations given, there is no scientific evidence to support this. There has been numerous cases of GDV in veterinary hospitals where the dog has fasted for 24 hours, been rested with no exercise. Hence it is now thought that the stomach's contractions lose their regular rhythm and trap air in the stomach; this can cause the twisting event. However, the sequence of events for most cases defies a good explanation and hence it is now thought that it may be an inherited disorder of the large breed deep chested dogs, and / OR brought on by stress . Commonly affected breeds include Great Danes, Standard Poodles, and German Shepherds to name a few, and statistics show that pure breed dogs are at higher risk that cross bred deep chested dogs.

This is an interesting Article I found whilst researching regarding a few "flaws" in the Purdue Study, and basically concludes that Stress is a major trigger. ... _study.htm
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Re: Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

Post by KateW » 25 Apr 2010, 11:58

Bid wrote:Was the quote originally from an American site? Can you get simethicone in a preparation suitable for dog in the UK?

Perhaps Cecilia's husband as a pharmacist will know the answer to this.....I know this is the main ingredient in Imodium but also that some humans can't tolerate this drug. One of my staff has IBS and can't take anything with simethicone.

Personally I think if you suspect a dog has bloat it is absolutely imperative to phone the vet and tell them that you are on your way with an emergency.


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Re: Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

Post by Hel&Mark » 25 Apr 2010, 12:08

I seem to remember that the stuff you can buy for babies with colic has simethicone in. Infacol, I think, is the stuff. No idea if it could be given to dogs though. :?
Check this is being adhered to before you buy your puppy: ... =17&t=6560

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Re: Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

Post by MrsAdmin » 25 Apr 2010, 16:23

Reply from the Oracle.

Simethicone is an ingredient in Imodium Plus but he would not give Imodium to a dog with diarrhoea. Far better to contact the vet after trying plain rice or potato diet.

Simethicone is used in anti flatulent medicine for wind and gas.

I found this on a rabbit site and Hubbie says it is quite true.

'You can also treat the rabbit any time you suspect gas with simethicone (infant anti-gas drops contain this ingredient).

Simethicone is not actually a drug, it is a surfactant/defoaming agent - instead of working via chemical reaction, it breaks down the surface tension of gas bubbles embedded in mucus in the GI tract. As surface tension is altered, the gas bubbles are broken or coalesced so that the gas can be eliminated more easily by the body.

It does not interact with any medications and is not at all harmful even if used when it wasn't necessary after all.

Besides treating with simethicone, you should also very gently massage the stomach towards the rear end in the hope of gently pushing the gas through the system..

Hubbie says it is quite suitable for babies, and therefore for dogs. Bear in mind, his advice is not that of a vet.

If you suspect your dog has any bloat problems, don't muck about -
get straight to a vet.

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Re: Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

Post by Vincento » 25 Apr 2010, 16:29

Our first labradoodle Ralph suffered this in May 2004 at the age of 11 years and 2 months. We realised something was very wrong and acted very quickly. All credit goes to the Australian Vet who was on duty that night that he survived an operation to remove his spleen and a small part of his intestine, he recovered really well but his age and the three hour operation (that damaged his back) were against him and on the 6th Dec 2004 (just 6 months later) we made the sad decision to send him ahead to Rainbow Bridge and wait for us. God Bless you Ralph we still love you.

Ralph veered more to the Lab side although he had a very thick coat with whispery fur on his ears/eyebrows and chin which lessened with age.
The first photo taken just six weeks after his op and looking good.

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Re: Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

Post by amber » 25 Apr 2010, 18:12

God bless Ralph.
What a lovely way to word it too.
I'm sure you are right and he will be there waiting. x

Thanks for the rest of the input to the post, all very helpful!

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Re: Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

Post by KateW » 25 Apr 2010, 22:13

Thank you for sharing Ralph's story, Vincento. He was a lovely boy and you must miss him dreadfully.


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Re: Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus) GDV

Post by KateW » 25 Apr 2010, 22:17

Please thank the Oracle, Cecilia :D I was not of course suggesting that anyone should administer Imodium to their dogs merely that I had noticed that Simethicone was listed as an ingredient......


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