Ginger Taffy - Rottweiler Kennel
Ginger Taffy
Rottweiler Kennel

Fédération Cynologique Internationale

Rottweiler klub České republiky

IFR rottweilers

Český kynologický svaz

Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub e.V.

ČeskoMoravská Kynologická Unie

2. Gastric Torsion

Gastric torsion (bloat) or stomach twisting is one of the most frequent danger threatening especially large dog breeds. This acute and life-threatening condition is most likely conditioned by genetics, yet it is also caused by different risk factors such as inappropriate food, bad feeding time, as well as an accident.

Gastric torsion develops in a similar way as bloat in cattle. Food which gets into the stomach may produce gases thus increasing the size of the stomach, which may be twisted as the dog moves. Consequently, blood vessels are strangulated resulting in a blood vessel collapse which prevents peristalsis. During a very short time, the tissue begins to die (necrotize), and the dog must be immediately taken to the veterinarian where only a prompt surgery will save the animal.

Excessive gas production in the stomach may be caused, for example, by bad quality dry dog food containing increased amount of grain. The dog should not be fed by home-made food in the form of liquid with solid particles ‘swimming’ in it (like a human soup). If you feed your dog such food, solid particles will set down to the bottom of the stomach with water staying above, which will induce fermentation. If you cook at home for your dogs always take the broth away from the cooked meat, however sorry you might be. Cooked dog food should have the consistency of a risotto at least; it should never be more watery. (You can use the broth to soak the kibble, but only to let it soak up slightly, you should never feed kibble swimming in the broth to your dog!) Last but not least risk factor when it comes to bloat is overfeeding the dog combined with exercise afterwards. Dogs should always rest for about two hours after feeding. You should never feed your dog before taking it for a walk!

Gastric torsion shows gradually with several symptoms of which the most frequent is a firm distension of the abdomen painful to touch, retching without vomiting (or just retching of foam, the dog is unable to vomit!), salivation, excessive drinking, accelerated breathing, hunched back, curling up, unusual positions etc. I must repeat again – if you suspect bloat, immediately take your dog to the veterinarian!

To prevent bloat it is necessary to follow at least the few following rules:

  1. Let your dog rest at least an hour or two after the meal, never let him run or jump!
  2. Never feed before a physical activity, or before a ride in a car!
  3. Let the dog cool down for at least an hour after an exercise, then you can feed!
  4. Food and water bowls should be ideally placed at the dog’s height – you can get special feeders, where you can adjust optimum height of bowls for every dog.
  5. Never feed spoilt or fermented food! If your dog does not finish all, take the food away, and if you cannot keep it fresh, better throw it away immediately.
  6. Do not let your dog drink too much water at once!
  7. In case of bloat, never roll the dog over its back, always over the belly, if you cannot manage otherwise.
  8. Immediate transport to the veterinary surgeon is imperative; you should always have at hand a number of a nearby non-stop veterinary clinic!

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