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What is Bloat?

Bloat is a painful medical condition that occurs mainly in large breed dogs. The formal name of it is gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV). That term suggests that it is comprised of two separate conditions, and it is. They combine to create a severe medical crisis. The two related conditions are:

Gastric dilation- refers to the distension of the dog’s stomach. It can result from the ingestion of food, fluid, and air, or by a combination of all of them, resulting in gas. This bloat frequently begins after eating or drinking large amounts of water quickly.

It can also involve air, especially if the dog eats quickly. In the process, he or she may ingest large amounts of air. Stress, and exercise soon after eating, may be contributing factors as well.

Volvulus- refers to a twisting of the stomach.

What Dog Breeds Are Susceptible to Bloat?

While bloat is a potential risk for all dogs, it most frequently occurs in deep-chested breeds or mixed-breeds that have hollow chests because of their breed combination. Representative breeds at risk include:

Symptoms of Bloat and Treatment

Bloat comes on fast. It is imperative to get immediate emergency attention. Watch for symptoms like these, keeping in mind that in the early stages, it may appear just that his or her stomach hurts—it could be much worse:

  • Acts restless
  • Drools
  • Has a swollen stomach
  • Appears anxious
  • Looks at his or her stomach
  • Paces
  • Tries to vomit but nothing comes up

As the condition gets worse, he or she may:

  • Collapse
  • Have pale gums
  • Have a rapid heartbeat
  • Have shortness of breath
  • Feel weak

Emergency care must be immediate as the dog is in danger of death. En route to emergency care the dog should be kept warm and still because he or she may be in shock. If gastric dilation is confirmed, it may be treated by trying to relieve pressure in the dog’s stomach. Surgery may be required for volvulus to reposition the stomach. 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.