“Bo just wasn’t himself,” explained Sandi. “I noticed that something was different shortly after he ate. He was very restless, up and down, and that was not like him. Then, about 45 minutes later, he started drinking a lot more water than usual. He started pacing, then wanted to go outside. He then started retching horribly and threw up about six times. It was frothy and foamy, and I could see his stomach was extended and as hard as a rock. “
Sandi’s gut instinct told her something was very wrong, and she immediately suspected dog bloat, or gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV). She’d read an article “Bloat in Dogs,” a few weeks before, that had been posted in Facebook by Sunny Saints supporter April.
“I went back and read it. Bo had all the symptoms for bloat.” Sandi did the right thing. She did not hesitate, and rushed him to the emergency vet hospital, ten minutes away from her home.
Is this something for all Saint owners to be scared of? Yes, or at least, very concerned, and for good reason. Bloat is a leading killer of dogs, second only to cancer. It's estimated that every year, about 60,000 dogs in the United States are affected by bloat, and a third of them die as a result. Even more scary is the fact that the large, deep-chested breeds, such as Saints, are more at risk for developing the dreaded condition.
According to Vetinfo.com, “Dog bloat occurs when an animal rushes through a large meal and then becomes active right after the meal. By gulping excessive air with the meal and then running around, the stomach ends up twisting, preventing the excessive air from releasing in a burp. Worse, the spleen can become trapped in the twist, reducing blood flow to the stomach. The stomach tissue, starved of oxygen-rich blood, dies, and toxins increase, leading to blood poisoning. With dog bloat, the stomach can rupture. Other organs become poisoned by the toxic blood supply and shut down. The chain of events quickly leads to death if immediate health care is not given.”
According to Sandi, x-rays revealed that Bo’s stomach had twisted and there was a very large pocket of air the whole length of the stomach. “The vet said that if I had waited another hour, Bo wouldn't have made it. I owe thanks to April for posting that article. I'm so glad my boy is home.”
“Bloat in Dogs” lists typical symptoms that may or may not occur in each case:
· Attempts to vomit (usually unsuccessful); may occur every 5-30 minutes
This seems to be one of the most common symptoms & has been referred to as the "hallmark symptom."
· Doesn't act like usual self
Perhaps the earliest warning sign and may be the only sign that almost always occurs.
· Significant anxiety and restlessness
· "Hunched up" or "roached up" appearance
· Lack of normal gurgling and digestive sounds in the tummy
· Bloated abdomen that may feel tight (like a drum)
The article cautions that, from the onset of the symptoms, there may be only minutes, or hours to get your dog to the vet. Bottom line, know your dog, and know when he or she is not acting “normally.” Be prepared! Know in advance what steps to take if you suspect bloat.
Be sure to talk to your vet about bloat, and read up on it. Sunny Saints and most of our supporters are not experts on medical issues, but we do have experiences to share. Keep your vet’s phone number handy, as well as the phone number of the nearest 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital. Some recommend keeping a gas relief product on hand, like Gas-X, or Mylanta Gas. It could buy some more time to get your beloved Saint to the vet.
For more information, check out the following links:
And, as always, please feel free to share information or experiences that may be useful to the rest of us Saint lovers. Looking forward to your comments!