Great Danes are at the top of the chart of predisposition for bloat, a serious and often deadly condition. One of the main reasons that Danes, and other large and giant breeds, are more prone to bloat is because they have a very deep chest cavity. Keep in mind that while larger breeds are at greater risk all breeds are susceptible. It’s important to understand the dangers and know the signs and symptoms. Most importantly is the need to act quickly to save your pup’s life in the event of bloat.
What is Bloat?
Bloat or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) is when a dog’s stomach rapidly expands with gas and fluid causing a distention in the abdomen. When this happens, the stomach puts pressure on other organs. In some cases, a dog’s stomach will then rotate or twist on both ends. This is known as gastric torsion and is the real killer when it comes to bloat. As gas and fluids start to ferment, pressure builds up and the blood supply to the stomach is cut off. When this occurs, blood becomes trapped in the stomach and blocks it from returning to the heart and other areas of the body. As a result, a portion of, or the entire stomach, can die. This can send your dog into shock, a life-threatening situation that requires immediate medical attention.
Here are some of the first signs that your dog may be in distress:
- • Most prominent is an enlarged abdomen
- • Acting restless
- • Labored breathing
- • Excessive Drooling even for a Dane
- • Vomiting, but nothing comes up
As the conditions worsen you might notice:
- • Pacing
- • Paleness in the gums
- • Rapid heartbeat
If you think your pet has bloat, get him to a clinic right away. Seeking immediate treatment is crucial because bloat can kill them.
Unfortunately, the underlying mechanism which causes bloat is not well understood. While there is much debate over the issue, it’s believed genetics, anatomy and environment can play an important role along with these possible culprits:
- • Gulping air
- • Rapid eating
- • Eating only one meal a day
- • Exercising before or after a meal
Unfortunately, since we don’t know what causes bloat it makes it even more difficult to prevent, but here’s some recommendations to possibly help prevent an onset of bloat:
Feed several times a day rather than just one big meal
Slow down the speed of your pups eating if their gulpers
Don’t let your dog drink too much water at one time, especially before or after exercise
Limit heavy exercise before or after eating
One of the best things you can do before getting any breed of dog is making sure you educate yourself about all the pro’s, con’s of the bread and known health concerns. The more aware you are of signs and symptoms, the better the chance you’ll have to save your best friends life. You know your pets best, if something feels wrong, your gut instinct is probably right!
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