Bloat is a condition in which a dog's stomach can become distended with gas. This may sound like a minor annoyance, but it's actually a serious medical concern that needs to be addressed surgically. As a dog owner, it is important that you know the signs of bloat and how it is treated. Here's what you should know:
Signs of Bloat
Bloat usually comes on quite suddenly. One day, your dog is fine, and hours later, they start appearing very uncomfortable. They may try to vomit, but nothing will come up. Their abdomen will appear distended, and they will be quite restless.
As such, it's important that you take your dog to the vet when you notice these signs. Your vet will assess for other signs of bloat, including a weak pulse, pale gums, and a low temperature.
Bloat is usually the result of the stomach becoming twisted in such a way that no food or gas can escape. This needs to be corrected surgically. Usually, the vet will start by taking X-rays of the dog's abdomen to figure out exactly how and where the stomach is twisted. Then, your dog will be put under anesthesia.
An incision is usually made down the length of your dog's abdomen. Through this incision, the vet will locate the stomach and inspect it. If any tissue has died as a result of the twist, that tissue will need to be removed. The vet will then untwist the stomach and use either stitches or staples to attach it to the abdominal wall. This will prevent it from twisting and causing another bout of bloat. Your dog's abdomen will then be sutured shut again.
Sometimes, the vet may determine that the stomach has been damaged beyond repair. Euthanasia is generally recommended in situations like this.
Recovering From Surgery
After surgery to correct bloat, your dog will need to spend a few days in the animal hospital. They'll be given a liquid diet at first, and they'll gradually progress back to eating solid food over a period of a couple of weeks. When your dog comes home, you will need to keep them quiet to protect their incision. The vet may put your dog on medication to increase stomach motility and help prevent subsequent instances of bloat.
Now that you're more informed about bloat, you can watch out for it and know when to call the vet if it happens to your dog. Contact a veterinary surgical service for more information.