Bloat in Great Danes: An Owner’s Guide

Great Danes are vulnerable to bloat or gastric torsion. An emergency medical condition, it causes about 25% to 40% canine fatalities even with treatment. Bloat in Great Danes results in rapid clinical signs that worsen quickly, and unless treated immediately, it may lead to the death of dogs in a few hours.

Bloat in Great Danes

What is Bloat in Great Danes?

Bloat or gastric torsion is a medical condition that occurs when the stomach is overstretched or twisted due to excessive gas. Known as Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus in the medical annals, the problem starts with the accumulation of air or fluid in the stomach of a dog. An expanded stomach puts pressure on other internal organs, squeezing the veins carrying blood to the stomach lining and the heart. It may twist on its longitudinal axis, closing the openings to esophagus and intestine at both ends.

As a result, the stomach traps blood, obstructing its flow to the heart. The dog experiences respiratory distress due to pressure on the diaphragm, which can damage the stomach wall and the spleen. Obstructed blood flow due to bloat in Great Danes may cause blood poisoning, abdominal inflammation, and toxic shock that may result in your dog’s death.

What Are Common Causes of Bloat in Great Danes?

The following factors may trigger bloat in Great Danes:

  • Great Danes have large and deep chests, and this makes them prone to increased air intake while eating. This enhances their vulnerability to bloat or gastric torsion.
  • Great Danes eating large meals are more likely to have the problem. Dogs eating once or twice a day often try to eat more quickly. The food when expands in the stomach traps gas causing bloating.
  • Exercising soon after the meal also causes bloat in Great Danes.
  • Eating too much kibble may contribute to gastric torsion in dogs. Kibbles swell causing an inflated stomach and bloating.
  • Older Great Danes have a slow digestive process, and this puts them at a risk of stomach torsion.
  • Raised dog bowels often promote quick eating, and this may result in a bloated stomach.
  • Drinking too much water may also be a cause.
  • Nervous, anxious, stressed, or fearful Great Danes face a greater risk of bloating.
  • Great Danes with gastrointestinal disease and distress are more susceptible.
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How To Diagnose Bloat in Great Danes?

The stomach swells and clinical signs set in rapidly with the onset of bloat in Great Danes. Dogs may have signs of a swollen and hurt stomach that worsens quickly. Here is a checklist of symptoms to know if your Great Dane is suffering from bloating:

  • Unsuccessful attempts to vomit
  • Distended stomach makes a drum-like sound when flicked
  • Belching attempts
  • Swelling in the frontal abdomen
  • Excessive drooling or salivation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Reduced body temperature
  • Sudden weakness and pale gums
  • Rapid heartbeat and restlessness
  • The dog looks anxious and has a very weak pulse
  • Your dog feels uncomfortable and may collapse

How To Treat Bloat in Great Danes?

If your dog has the above symptoms, take him to a vet immediately. Vets usually look for signs of gas buildup and insert a catheter into the dog’s stomach to relieve the pressure inside. An x-ray or ultrasound may be suggested to check if the stomach is dilated with air and to assess damage to the spin.

When a twisted stomach obstructs the catheter insertion, a large needle is used. If the dog develops blood clots, anticoagulants may be prescribed. Vets closely monitor the heart and respiration and may give antibiotics to the dog if there is toxicity in his body.

Abdominal surgery is the only option when the stomach wall and the spleen are damaged. Gastropexy, a type of surgery, helps to stitch the stomach to the abdominal wall and prevent it from flipping over.

How To Prevent Bloat in Great Danes?

  • Feeding small meals helps avoid bloat in Great Danes. Divide the food into smaller meals and serve it to your dog 4 to 5 times a day.
  • Ensure that your dog does not indulge in overeating.
  • Avoid using a raised bowl while feeding your dog.
  • Do not run or play with your dog after he has his meals.
  • Let your dog eat slowly and drink a normal amount of water.
  • Soak kibbles for 5-10 minutes before serving them to your dog.
  • Don’t allow your dog to drink soon after meals.
  • Let your dog rest and stay calm following his meals.
  • Avoid soybean-based dog food or that with a higher fat content, as these may increase the risk of bloat in Great Danes.
  • Make sure your dog is not excited or stressed while eating.
  • Any diet change should be gradual.

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