I asked my cousin Mogley if I could write a guest blog about what happened to me this weekend so that other dogs and owners are aware of bloat. Loyal readers are aware, this past Friday I got into my food bag and ate until I couldn’t eat any more. When my parents came home, I did not feel good and my tummy was the size of two basketballs. Thankfully my parents knew that was not a good sign and rushed me off to the emergency vet in Parker. After some Xrays, they said I had bloat due to eating too much… my tummy was the biggest they’d seen! My spine was bent due to the pressure from the stomach. Surgery wasn’t necessary, but I had to spend the next 24 hours in the ICU hooked up to IVs trying to start my GI tract moving again and keep me from going into shock (or even an Addisonian crisis). My parents were told that the next few days I would be at risk of bloat and gastric torsion (where the stomach flips), both of which can be fatal. Below, Piper before her troubles.
Since my mom is into researching, she learned a lot about bloat and torsion and tips to prevent this from happening (aside from keeping food away from us dogs):
- Slow the chow down (fast eaters are more at risk). My parents bought an anti-bloat bowl with protrusions in it and also put a ball in the food bowl to give me something to eat around.
- Elevated bowls have shown an increased risk of bloat. This is counter to many suggestions but appears to be confirmed by research.
- Drinking water around meal times may increase the risk. My parents are taking the water away an hour before and after dinner. It makes sense that more water makes the kibble swell up bigger in the tummy.
- Don’t feed one large meal with dry food only. We always had two meals a day (three would be better, but mom’s at work), now we get 1/3 can of wet food added in our kibble.
- Don’t feed a food with an oil or fat as one of the first four ingredients.
- Avoid stress or exercise within an hour or two before and after eating.
- Simethicone (which is like GasX; ask your vet about how much to give and when) can decrease gas and may help for gassy dogs like me. My dad is happy when the simethicone is used and he can breathe clean air!
Some things can’t be prevented (my mom calls these non-modifiable risk factors), but if your dog has these qualities he’s more at risk:
- Large breed dogs with deep narrow chests
- Male dogs
- Older dogs
- Dogs with fearful or aggressive personalities or under stress (one reason they think I fared so well is my laid-back, happy personality – I smiled through the whole thing).
If you want more info, my mom says her favorite article on bloat was on pet place.com, here is the link:
Below, Piper at ease.
We are all very glad that I came through this and that my parents were able to recognize the signs and get me help and now they know what to do to prevent this tragic problem. If your dog gets abdominal bloating, tries to vomit and can’t, drools more and becomes restless and uncomfortable, please take them to the vet ASAP. I will live to swim in the pool another summer and enjoy my sisters and cousins thanks to my parents and the Animal Emergency and Specialty Clinic in Parker!
Thanks for reading!