Groucho’s Story

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Bloat and Gastric Dilatation/Volvulus

SpyderHi everyone! My name is Spyder. I am a 3 year old Great Dane. I bloated last Friday and had to have emergency surgery. I would like to share my story so that if your pet bloats, you can be prepared like my Dad was!!

It was a dark cold evening in November. I had just gotten home from a fun filled day of Daycare at Pampered Paws Animal Hospital and I was ready to eat and turn in for the night! My dad got my dinner ready, but for some reason, I just couldn’t eat as much as I wanted to. I tried to eat, but I could only fit a little bit in my tummy. “I’ll finish that in a few minutes,” I thought. Well, I tried again but still…no more food would go in my tummy. Then, I started to feel nauseated, like I was going to hurl my tasty dinner all over the kitchen floor. I told my dad I needed to go outside ASAP.

When I got outside I tried to throw up, but nothing would come out. I couldn’t get anything to fit in, or come out of my stomach, what in the world was going on?! I tried several times to vomit but I just couldn’t. Luckily, the doctors and Paws Animal Hospital did a very good job of teaching my dad the signs of bloat. He knew that a large chested guy like me is very likely to bloat, and that if I ever vomited or tried to vomit several times that I could have a life-threatening emergency!! My dad called Pampered Paws and they got me into surgery in no time. After surgery, then sent me to Mississippi State for intensive care, since bloat patients can have a lot of complications for several days after surgery. Now I’m at home resting and recuperating.

Please take a minute to read the article below to better educate yourself of the signs of bloat and what to do if your pet seems bloated. If my dad hadn’t gotten me to the hospital as quickly as he did, I may not have made it through the night!
Thanks for taking the time to learn more for your pet’s safety!!!

Sincerely and with lots of slobbery kisses,


Bloat and Gastric Dilation/Volvulus

Bloat and GDV occur when the stomach rotates on itself, cutting off the blood supply to the stomach and the spleen.

normal stomach


A stomach bloats when a dog is unable to eructate (burp) or if they cannot pass ingested material from the stomach to the intestines. Once the stomach is dilated it is very likely to rotate. This rotation usually occurs from right to left (as illustrated in the drawing above). Once the bloated stomach has rotated, the blood supply to the stomach and the spleen is cut off.

This bloated stomach can also put pressure on the major arteries and veins of the body, causing less blood to get back to the dog’s heart and results in cardiac shock.

Severe complications such as stomach and spleen necrosis, endotoxemia and death can occur due to this condition.

Who is most likely to Bloat?
Large breed and giant breed dogs are at a much higher risk of bloating. Their large, deep chest cavities give their stomach more room to dilate and rotate. The most commonly affected breeds are Great Danes, Weimaraners, Saint Bernard, Gordon Setters, Irish Setters, Old English Sheepdogs, and Standard Poodles. Basset Hounds are the most likely smaller breed dogs to bloat.

What are the risk factors associated with bloat?
• Deep chest cavity
• Stressful situations
• Dogs that are underweight
• Dogs that are only fed once a day
• Dogs that are fed from elevated bowls
• Exercising soon after eating
• Eating or drinking large amounts at one time
• Most bloats occur during November, December and January

What signs should make me think my dog is bloated?
• If your dog has tried to vomit several times, but has been unable to bring anything up
• Excessive drooling
• If your dog has a very distended abdomen
• If you dog collapses all of a sudden
**** If you notice that your dogs has any or multiple of these signs call us immediately! Bloat/GDV is a serious life-threatening emergency and needs surgical treatment. Time is very important in saving a bloated dog’s life!

What will happen once we get the to Veterinary Hospital?
The doctor will immediately take an x-ray of your dogs stomach.

A normal dogs stomach looks like this on x-ray:
normal stomach xray

A dog with Bloat/GDV will have a stomach that looks like this:
bloat stomach xray

If it is determined that your dog has bloated, they will be immediately prepped for surgery. The doctor will try to relieve some of the tension on the stomach by placing a very large needle though the abdominal wall and into your dog’s stomach.

Meanwhile, the Veterinary support staff will be placing 2 IV catheters and starting fluid shock therapy. Your pet will be taken to surgery as fast as possible. During surgery the stomach will be rotated back to a normal position, the remaining contents of the stomach will be suctioned out and the stomach will be sutured to the right body wall, to prevent rotation from occurring again. Due to loss of blood supply, the spleen may need to be removed during this surgery. Also, if the stomach has been without blood supply for an extended amount of time, affected areas of the stomach wall may need to be removed as well.

What to expect after surgery:
Your dogs will have to stay in intensive care for 3-5 days after this surgery. Common complications of bloat include:
• Cardiac arrhythmias
• Gastric ulceration
• Esophagitis
• Coagulation issues
• Aspiration pneumonia
• Endotoxemia
It is essential that your pet remain in ICU care to monitor for any of these complications.

Even with surgical treatment, 15-40% of dogs with bloat/GDV die. This depends on how long it has been between the time of bloat and surgery. This is why it is imperative that you get your dog to a hospital if you notice any of these signs.

Spyder is so lucky that is dad knew what to look for and got him to the hospital within 30 min! What a great pet owner!!

What can I do to decrease my dog’s risk of bloating?
• Encourage slow eating and drinking
• ALWAYS feed twice a day
• Never elevate you dog’s food bowl
• Allow the stomach time to digest before you dog exercises
• Avoiding stressful situations soon after eating