Bloat In Dogs (Gastric Dilatation And Volvulus)

Bloat in dogs and Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) are serious and potentially deadly conditions. These conditions are considered emergencies and should be brought to a veterinarian if they are suspected. Knowing the warning signs of these conditions can help save your dog’s life.

What Causes Gas And Bloat in Dogs?

 Gas is often formed as a byproduct of bacterial fermentation in the bowels. Gas may sometimes form if your dog gulps a lot of air when eating or drinking, leading to the ingestion of this air. While most air bubbles are naturally popped and dealt with in the gut, some may lead to an increase in gas. In normal and healthy dogs, this gas is expelled by either burping or farting, decreasing the pressure in the intestines and allowing for normal function.

In the case of bloat or GDV, there is a problem with the ability to expel excess gas from the bowels. This can be caused by a functional issue, a fast build-up of too much gas or obstruction stopping the gas from escaping as normal. With GDV, the stomach may also flip and twist over itself, cutting off any exit to the esophagus and bowels and creating a balloon for gas to continue forming. This flipping of the stomach also cuts off its blood supply, leading to the death of intestinal tissues.

Signs of bloat and GDV may include a cessation in burping and farting, abdominal pain, nausea and loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea that suddenly stop, attempting to vomit or defecate without results, large bloated abdomen and loss of consciousness. This condition is very serious and if these symptoms are seen emergency care should be sought.


Can I Prevent Gas in My Dog

Diet modification is a simple way to prevent any minor gas problem. Some dogs may be more prone to gas if they have trouble digesting an ingredient in their food or treats, resulting in the ingredient becoming fermented and broken down by gut bacteria. This results in the production of gas as a byproduct. Removing the offending ingredient may help resolve gas issues. Supplements, such as probiotics, can also help reduce gas.

With bloat and GDV, prevention can sometimes help reduce the chances. These conditions tend to be more common in larger breed dogs, and some vets may recommend tummy tacking during routine spay or neuter surgery to prevent its ability to flip over and obstruct the bowels. Feeding several smaller meals throughout the day instead of one large meal can help prevent bloat as less amount of food will ferment to form gas, allowing smaller amounts to escape rather than build up.

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What Should I Do if I Suspect My Dog Has Gas or Bloat

For minor gas symptoms, it is best to take your furry friend to the vet. Your vet may suggest treatments, such as changes in diet, gas medications, or natural supplements to help decrease gas symptoms.

In the event of bloat or GDV, emergency medical care for your dog should be sought immediately. Bloat can quickly become a deadly situation within minutes, if left untreated. Emergency treatment will depend on any obstruction of the stomach. If the stomach is in its normal position and not flipped, a gastric tube can be placed, allowing gas to escape and decrease pressure in the intestines. In the case of a flipped stomach, an emergency surgery to rotate the stomach back to the normal position and remove any dead intestinal tissue may be needed.


Natural Remedies for Treating Minor Gas and Bloating

Peppermint, Ginger, and plain Yogurt are the go-to remedies for treating minor gas symptoms in dogs. These herbs can help soothe the stomach and break up gas bubbles, while yogurt provides a natural source of probiotics. These healthy bacteria can help reduce the buildup of fermented products in the gut and help push out “bad” bacteria that can cause gas. A diet free from common allergens, such as wheat, corn, and soy products, can help improve minor gas symptoms. If gas continues or is suspected as bloat, speaking with a veterinarian is recommended.

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