Veterinary Illness of the Month: Bloat

Golden Retrievers are one breed susceptible to bloat.

Bloat or Gastric Dilation Volvulus is a fatal condition when the stomach fills with air and/or twists on itself. When you suspect this happens, it is an EMERGENCY and your pet must be transported to an emergency center right away. Most cases do result in surgery.


Do not attempt to relieve the gas from your pet's stomach

Do not give anything by mouth. No treats, water, food. Nothing


excess drooling

Frequent vomiting without any production. Some patients may be able to produce foamy saliva. That is about it.

Anxiety, restlessness and pacing

Lethargy or agitation

Depression or shock

There has been advancements in the past ten years when it comes to bloat. Not long ago, bloat was considered to be a death sentence. Only 25 percent of patients survived. Currently, the survival rte is much higher. It is at 80% with surgery. The reason for this is there is more owner awareness. Owners are more aware of this condition and are aware of what to look for.

The sooner the patient arrives at the veterinarian, the better. The longer the owner waits, the more the patient is susceptible to shock. The shock has to be treated before going into surgery. The earlier the pet gets to a veterinarian, the greater the chance of survival.


There is still research ongoing in the prevention of GDV. There is not one intervention that has shown to prevent GDV. Elevating food can increase the risk. Smaller kibble size, smaller and more frequent meals, not exercising an hour before or after meals, and not breeding animals with a history of bloat in their lineage may decrease the risk.

With breeds that have a predisposition to bloat, such as Great Danes, German Shepherd Dogs, Golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Akitas and other deep chested dogs, a preventative surgery called a prophylactic gastroplexy can be done when the dog is being spayed or neutered. This surgery involves the stomach being surgically attached to the abdomen wall to prevent rotation. It can be done minimally invasively through laparoscopy.

Contact your veterinarian for details and advice. You may save your best friend's life.


past experience

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