February 27, 2018, was an average day, I was working on new posts and interviews for my website, and my dog Fred was “helping” my mom on our flower farm. At around 4:30 I fed him dinner as I always do in the kitchen. I walked outside for a few minutes and was alarmed when I walked back in. Fred had stopped eating, which was highly unlike him and he looked startled. He started acting as though he needed to vomit, so I rushed him outside. Fred has a sensitive stomach, he has had health issues off and on, so I thought he just had a stomach ache. I knew something was very different when he tried vomiting but couldn’t, and he started drooling profusely. When he got into the house, he started panicking and jumping on furniture. Thankfully, I had heard about dog bloat (Gastric dilatation-volvulus) and had read about the symptoms, and thought we need to rush him to the animal hospital.
I hoped and prayed that wasn’t it. I had heard the statistics, and read how deadly dog bloat could be. When we got him there, the veterinarians took him in the back to run tests and had us sign paperwork asking if we would like him resuscitated in case he suffered cardiac arrest (while they were running tests). Fred has been sick a few times over the years but never had we ever been asked anything like that. We, of course, said yes, they ran tests and they confirmed what we had thought all along, he had dog bloat.
Fred had two surgeries that night – one to “reposition his twisted stomach” and he also had his spleen removed. It was very costly and incredibly stressful, but thankfully he is okay. It has been my mission since February 27th to tell as many people about dog bloat. Had I not known the warning signs, my best friend of eight years may not be here today. Today, I am very excited to have an expert opinion to share with you today!
Renowned veterinarian and children’s book author (“Lisette The Vet”) Dr. Ruth MacPete was kind enough to join me for an interview recently to discuss dog bloat. She shared warning signs, common symptoms, preventative tips and treatment options. During the interview, she mentioned a surgery that a dog can have when they are being spayed or neutered to help prevent dog bloat in the future! I know for a fact the next time I get a puppy, I will definitely make sure he or she has this surgery. I would hate to have this happen again.
Please scroll down for great tips from Dr. Ruth MacPete, and to learn about her amazing new children’s book. I wanted to be a vet when I was a kid, and know this book would have been right up my alley!
Dr. Ruth MacPete Discusses Dog Bloat
Candace Rose Anderson: What is dog bloat?
Dr. Ruth MacPete: “Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), more commonly known as bloat, is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a dog’s stomach becomes distended with food, liquid or gas. As the stomach becomes more distended, it places pressure on the surrounding structures, limiting the return of blood flow to the heart and preventing the lungs from completely expanding. Volvulus refers to the stomach rotating in a manner that it compromises its own blood supply. When this occurs, the animals go into shock and can die within hours without treatment.”
Whether Or Not All Dogs Are At Risk For Bloat
Candace Rose Anderson: I’ve heard that large breed dogs are more at risk. Is this true? Are all dogs at risk for it?
Dr. Ruth MacPete: “Certain breeds, like large or giant breeds, are more likely to develop bloat due to their body conformation, specifically their deep chests. The breeds most commonly affected include: Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, German Shepherds, and Standard Poodles, although any breed can develop bloat.”
The Most Common Signs and Symptoms Of Bloat
Candace Rose Anderson: What are some of the most common signs and symptoms of dog bloat?
Dr. Ruth MacPete: “Animals suffering from bloat may initially have trouble swallowing, drool excessively, try to vomit (though typically nothing comes out), pant, pace and act uncomfortable. When the stomach rotates and compromises its own blood supply, the animal will show signs of shock such as pale mucous membranes, tachycardia (rapid heart rate), and may collapse.”
What To Do If Your Dog Shows Symptoms
Candace Rose Anderson: What should you do if your dog is showing symptoms?
Dr. Ruth MacPete: “If you think your dog may be suffering from bloat it is imperative that they receive treatment immediately. Call your veterinarian or go to the nearest emergency clinic for treatment. Left untreated bloat can be fatal within a few hours. If you see any of the above signs or are concerned that your pet may be developing bloat don’t wait, call your veterinarian immediately for assistance.”
Dr. MacPete On Whether Or Not Dog Bloat Is Preventable
Candace Rose Anderson: Is bloat preventable? If so, how can you prevent it?
Dr. Ruth MacPete: “The best way to prevent gastric dilatation-volvulus in at-risk breeds is to have your veterinarian perform gastropexy surgery. This is often done when your dog is young and is spayed or neutered. This procedure attaches the stomach to the body wall so that it is unable to twist if dilated. While it does not prevent gas dilation of the stomach it does prevent the stomach from rotating which is the reason GDV is life-threatening.”
The Most Common Myths About GDV (Dog Bloat)
Candace Rose Anderson: Are there any myths or misconceptions about GDV (dog bloat)?
Dr. Ruth MacPete: “There are a lot of myths about bloat. One of them is that giving your dog simethicone (Gas-X) will prevent bloat. Unfortunately, simethicone has not been proven to be effective in preventing bloat. Another common myth is that drinking ice water can cause a dog to bloat. Once again, there is no scientific evidence to support this theory. As always, speak with your veterinarian if you have any questions about bloat prevention.”
How Your Veterinarian Will Treat This Medical Emergency
Candace Rose Anderson: What are the most common treatment options?
Dr. Ruth MacPete: “Again its important people realize that bloat is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment. The first thing your veterinarian will do is stabilize your dog, as most will be in shock. This will likely involve giving intravenous fluids, pain medication (bloat is very painful), anti-nausea medication, and more. Then your veterinarian will remove the air, fluid or food from the stomach. Once stable immediate surgery is needed to reposition the twisted stomach.”
Whether Or Not Dogs Can Get Bloat More Than Once
Candace Rose Anderson: Can dogs get bloat more than once?
Dr. Ruth MacPete: “Unless a gastropexy is performed, a dog can develop bloat again. Even with a gastropexy, an animal can develop gastric dilatation but will not develop volvulus (twisting or rotation of the stomach), which is what causes an animal to go into shock and ultimately die if untreated.”
For more information on renowned veterinarian, Dr. Ruth MacPete please check out her website, social media channels and her new children’s book “Lisette the Vet.”