You probably know Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) better by its common name: bloat. It’s a life-threatening emergency resulting from excess gas in the stomach, which causes it to twist upon itself. Often when bloat occurs it takes a while for owners to realize their pet is in distress, and this condition becomes fatal very quickly.
Extra-large dogs over 99 pounds have an approximate 20% risk of developing bloat in their lifetimes, and the risk increases with age. The condition can occur in smaller dogs, as well. If you have a high-risk dog, it’s especially important to know the symptoms of bloat, because they can be subtle. They include:
• A hard, distended, or “double bubble” stomach
• Anxiety and/or lethargy
• Signs of pain including panting and/or guarding the belly
• Unproductive vomiting or heaving
It’s important to note that some dogs will not have the classic distended stomach, so it’s best to be cautious and get your pet to the vet right away if there are other symptoms. You can also decrease the chances of your dog getting bloat by making sure they avoid rough play right after eating, using a slow feeder and giving smaller meals more often.