While humans suffer from bloating quite regularly, and it generally causes no major long term health concerns, the same cannot be said for bloating in dogs. Bloating in dogs can be a serious condition that requires urgent medical treatment for the dog. While the term is often shorted to “bloat” it refers to two distinctive conditions. Below are the two main causes of bloating in dogs and available treatment options.
In this condition poor Fido’s stomach distends and then fills with gas and fluid. This causes the dog significant pain and requires medical treatment to remove the gas and fluids. It’s painful for the dog. This condition is sometimes present by itself, but can also be related to the second condition Volvulus.
Volvulus refers to the twisting of the stomach between 180 and 360 degrees. When this happens there is no way of fluid or gases being released from the stomach. The dog can’t burp, pass wind or even vomit. The longer the condition lasts, the more fermenting that takes place, and the worst the condition becomes.
This leads to more severe problems such as dehydration, septicemia, gastric perforation and even cardiac arrhythmias. Medical treatment is required urgently to fix the stomach and save the dogs life.
What are the symptoms of bloating in dogs?
The condition can develop suddenly. An otherwise healthy dog can quickly become critical even if they just went for a run or ate a meal. There are a range of symptoms to look out for. The most common symptoms are detailed below:
- Restlessness and pacing: The first sign you may notice – even before the bloating occurs – is that the dog is restless and pacing. This shows that they are uncomfortable and that there is a problem.
- Unable to vomit: The next sign you will notice is that the dog is trying to vomit but is unable to. This again shows that there is a buildup of gas or fluid that the dog is not able to release. If you notice this then call a vet straight away.
- Pain when touching the dog’s belly: If the dog whines in pain when you touch their belly then this is another warning sign. Often you will hear a hollow sound when touching the belly. Again, call a vet straight away.
- Tightness and pressure: From a physical examination you will be able to feel tightness in the dog’s stomach and abdomen. In some cases this won’t be identifiable at the start and the dog may seem happy and not under stress. However this can change quickly.
As detailed above, if a dog displays any of the symptoms above then they need to be taken to a vet straight away. The most common treatment is to first pass a tube through the dog’s mouth into its stomach. Often a rush of air is heard as the tube enters the stomach. This usually brings instant relief. The dog is then monitored for the next two days and only feed through a drip.
If the dog is suffering from volvulus then emergency surgery is required. The goal is to move the stomach and spleen back into place, and to remove any part of the stomach or spleen that has suffered from necrosis. Often an X-Ray is undertaken first to ascertain how badly turned the stomach may be.
In most cases the dog will recover from the incident. However, the dog will always be more susceptible for further occurrences. Therefore changes in diet and lifestyle need to be made. Smaller more regular meals are considered a good option to help avoid this condition.