Dog Bloat and Gastric Torsion
A Life-Threatening Emergency

This happy, healthy Golden Retriever could
be dead in an hour or less if gastric torsion occurs.

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Dog Bloat and Gastric Torsion, or, “twisted stomach.” are commonly found in larger, deep-cheated dogs.

Bloat and torsion are thought to be caused by eating too much food too fast, gorging, drinking too much water at one time, the creation of gas in the stomach and exercising right before or after eating or drinking.

A buildup of gas, liquid and food in the stomach can cause the stomach to suddenly swell up (bloat) and rotate. The stomach may not be firmly secured to the ribs and can break loose with the rotation, dislodging the spleen with it. Both ends of the stomach become sealed off, trapping the contents of the stomach.

The stomach enlarges and can twist on it’s attaching points. One point is the food pipe (esophagus) and at the other end is the small or “upper” intestine. With the entrance and exit closed off, the dog can not burp, belch, expel gas, vomit or in any way get anything out of the stomach.

Blood flow returning to the heart is immediately blocked by the enlarged, twisted stomach and dislodged spleen. This triggers other negative responses in the body including breathing problems and sudden death will occur within minutes.

Since the dog can die suddenly if immediate medical intervention is not made, you have about 10 minutes to get to a vet.

If your dog is prone to this, feed 2 or more small meals a day. Don’t overload the stomach. DO NOT EXERCISE THE DOG FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR before and after eating a meal. This includes evening walks. Let food digest first.

Surgery is often required so be sure to see an emergency vet immediately.

The classic symptom and first sign of a problem is if the dog tries to vomit but nothing comes out, or at best, only some saliva or phlegm comes out. That's the moment to put the dog in the car and rush to the emergency vet!

Other symptoms of Gastric Torsion include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, drooling, weakness, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.. Symptoms will be noticed within hours of eating or excessive drinking.

Dog bloat and gastric torsion are the most serious and sudden illnesses an otherwise healthy dog can experience.

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