Bloat happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid, making it expand. The stomach puts pressure on other organs. It can cause dangerous problems, including:
No blood flow to his heart and stomach lining
A tear in the wall of his stomach
A harder time breathing
In some cases, the dog’s stomach will rotate or twist, a condition that vets call gastric dilatation volvulus. It traps blood in the stomach and blocks it from returning to the heart and other areas of the body. This can send your dog into shock.
Bloat usually comes on very quickly. At first, your dog may show signs that his stomach hurts. He may:
Any dog can have bloat, but it’s much more common in deep-chested, large breeds, like Akitas, Boxers, Bassett Hounds, and German Shepherds. Some are at a higher risk than others, including Great Danes, Gordon Setters, Irish Setters, Weimaraners, and St. Bernards.
The type of treatment a dog gets depends on how severe his condition is.
First, the vet will put a tube into your dog’s throat and down to his stomach to release the pressure that has built up. Sometimes, a twisted stomach can keep the tube from passing through. If that’s the case, the vet will put a large, hollow needle through his belly into his stomach and release the pressure that way.