Gastric Torsion, or Bloat, is a serious condition and should be considered an extreme emergency. If not diagnosed and treated promptly, death will result. This problem is usually seen in deep-chested dogs such as Greyhounds, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, retrievers, shepherds and setters. The cause is unknown. The stomach distends enormously as air and fluid accumulate. Eventually it twists in on itself. The dog will try to vomit, salivate profusely, be restless, breathe heavily and will eventually collapse and die. The onset of bloat is rapid, usually within two hours of eating.
If you suspect bloat, transport your dog to the vet immediately. Administer first aid for shock. Move the dog gently, with as little movement as possible. Making the dog walk can cause irreversible damage. Getting your dog to the vet in time is a matter of life or death.
To decrease the possibility of bloat, do not exercise your dog for one hour before and one hour after feeding or giving water. More frequent feedings of smaller low-fat meals is helpful. Secure dog food so that dogs will not have access and overeat. Soak dry foods for bloat prone dogs before feeding.
SUPPLEMENTARY FIRST AID:
Shock, which is actually the collapse of the circulatory system, occurs when an animal has sustained a traumatic injury -- blood loss, electric shock, poisoning, burns or other serious accident. If not treated promptly, shock may progress to death. Symptoms of shock include the following:
§ Body feels cool to the touch.
§ Pulse is weak and rapid.
§ Breathing is shallow and rapid.
§ Gums are pale or muddy.
Shock requires immediate veterinary attention. To administer first aid make sure the dog's air passages are clear. Help the dog to maintain its body heat by covering it with a coat or blanket. If the dog is unconscious, keep the dog's head lower than its body. Massage the legs and body muscles to encourage blood flow. If possible, phone the veterinary hospital to let them know the problem and that you are on your way. Transport the dog with as little movement as possible.