More than gas

Q: My three-year-old Miniature Poodle eats really quickly. It results in lots of smelly farts. Recently my sister’s pooch died of bloat. How do I tell the difference between a gassy Poodle and one that’s suffering from bloat?
By Dr Chong Lip Ren
Published on Thursday, 14 December 2017

Q: My three-year-old Miniature Poodle eats really quickly. It results in lots of smelly farts. Recently my sister’s pooch died of bloat. How do I tell the difference between a gassy Poodle and one that’s suffering from bloat?

A: 

What is bloat and GDV?
Canine bloat is the regularly used term but often times it is referred to by the scientific term: Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) or gastric dilatation. It’s a life-threatening disorder most commonly seen in large, deep-chested dogs. The term refers to a gas-filled stomach that twists upon itself and this is a medical emergency that usually requires surgery to correct.

Causes of GDV/bloat
The definite cause is still unknown, but recent studies have found that stress is a contributing factor. Most commonly, the condition occurs two to three hours after the animal eats a large meal. Although the condition almost always occurs in giant or large breed dogs with narrow, deep chests, gastric dilatation (usually without volvulus or twisted intestines), occasionally occurs in small senior dogs.

Warning signs of GDV/bloat
A distended stomach causes the dog to appear swollen or “bloated” and it’s most obvious on the left side; gentle tapping of the swelling just behind the last rib often produces a hollow, drum-like sound.

The enlarged stomach also puts pressure on the diaphragm, which may cause breathing problems. You’ll notice lots of drooling, panting, walking around, and retching. Other symptoms include pain/discomfort, restlessness, lethargy, not eating with signs not resolving, and shock.

What to do if you think your dog has GDV/bloat?
If you suspect your pet may have GDV/bloat, you should rush to an emergency clinic as soon as possible as it is a life threatening condition. Factors such as the degree of shock, severity of the condition, cardiac problems, stomach wall necrosis (damage) and length of surgery can affect survival rate. Even in relatively uncomplicated cases, mortality rate is about 15 to 20 percent.