Is Your Rottweiler Prone to Bloat?
Stomach bloat is also known as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus Syndrome (GDV). It is a condition that occurs when the stomach fills with gas, swells and twists on its axis, closing both ends of the stomach.
Normally, the dog's stomach is a muscular pouch which is connected to the esophagus, where the food from the mouth enters, and to the first part of the small intestine, known as the duodenum. When a Rottweiler suffers from Bloat, the stomach gets twisted on each part that connects with the esophagus and the intestine creating a situation where nothing can enter or exit from the stomach. When the stomach is twisted there would be the gases and fluid present inside the stomach will get trapped. This is now known as dilatation. When this condition happens, the stomach will start to swell because of the presence and accumulation of gas from the digestive and bacterial processes that take place within the stomach. The blood flow to the stomach and the intestines can also be hampered. This condition can rapidly lead to serious health risks brought about by the loss of fluid and electrolyte imbalance in the circulation. If left unattended, it can lead to shock and possibly death.
The predisposing factors of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus include:
- Dogs with large and deep chests such as Rottweilers, Great Danes and German Shepherds.
- A dog that quickly consumes a large meal that is given only once a day. Large dogs can easily consume large quantities of dry dog food in a relatively short amount of time. When the dry kibbles reach the stomach, these can easily absorb water and other fluids present in the stomach causing the kibbles to swell.
- Rigorous exercise or play just after a big meal can boost the chances of Bloat occurrence.
- Age - most dogs affected with GDV are already two years of age or older.
The most common sign associated with Gastric Dilatation Volvulus is a futile attempt to vomit. You can observe your dog to be retching with some degree of swelling in the front part of the abdomen, which will continue to increase in size as the condition progresses. The dog may also show excessive salivation and attempt to defecate when pressure is applied to the stomach.
Inability to properly address the condition can result in the development of shock symptoms including a rapid heart rate, poor circulation and a very weak pulse. The mucous membranes of the mouth will also be pale and cold. Without emergency treatment, the dog will become progressively weak leading to coma and eventually death.
You can safeguard your Rottweiler from Gastric Dilatation and Bloat with the following precautionary measures:
- Divide your Rottweiler's total daily ration into several small meals given throughout the day.
- Moisten the dry kibbles or soak in broth or water for several minutes to allow the dry food to swell before being eaten by your dog.
- Limit your dog’s water intake for at least an hour after eating. This will reduce the amount of water entering the stomach to avoid the further swelling of food in the stomach.
- Refrain from too much exercise and excitement right after a meal. Keep your dog calm for at least an hour after feeding.
- Feeding your Rottweiler on a raised platform will ensure that less amount of air is gulped in with the food.
- There have been studies which showed that Soybean-based dog food can increase the incidence of GDV.
Although treatment may differ depending on the severity of the symptoms, cases of GDV should always be taken as a medical emergency. If your pet is lucky enough to have a swollen stomach which has not yet gotten twisted, relief can be immediate by simply releasing the trapped gases, food, and fluid in the stomach with the aid of a soft plastic tube passed down through the mouth, to the esophagus and to the stomach. However, in most cases, the stomach has already twisted on its axis and there is a need to seek immediate medical intervention. Since a tube cannot be passed through the mouth to the stomach, your Veterinarian will start by ensuring that the patient is stabilized by giving fluids and medication to prevent or lessen shock. When the patient is stabilized, the Veterinarian can now perform emergency surgery to correct the position of the twisted stomach.