It's true that bloat requires immediate veterinary care! But do you really know what bloat is as far as your dog is concerned?
It is known by many names: Gastric dilatation-volvulus, GDV, also commonly known as canine bloat. It is also most important to note that it is an acute, life-threatening condition and as a dog owner it is imperative that you know the symptoms and what to do if you ever feel your own dog has bloated!
Bloat requires immediate veterinary care! Let's break the condition of bloat down further. The word dilatation refers to the fact that the stomach swells from a rapid accumulation of air.
Now, the word volvulus. Basically this means that the stomach, spleen or other abdominal structures in the bloated dog have twisted - kind of like when you wring water out of a wet cloth.
Neither of these conditions, dilatation or volvulus, are good for your dog and they rapidly progress on to blockage and strangulation of those organs. Immediate veterinary attention is now required to prevent your dog from dying if it has bloated.
Here are some staggering facts about bloat. Bloat is a terrible condition that now happens so often that it may now be considered the second leading cause of death, after cancer, among many of the large and giant breed dogs. "German Shepherd Dogs rank 12th highest of all breeds, excluding rare breeds, for developing bloat", says Tony Cherubini, chairman of the Health and Genetics Committee of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America.
Comparatively speaking, concerning dogs and dog breeds that bloat, the German Shepherd may be up to 4 times more likely to develop bloat than most dog breeds while Labrador Retrievers are 2 times more likely. Golden Retrievers may be up to 1.2 times more likely to develop bloat than other breeds. Bloat requires immediate veterinary care at all times.
The overall winner in the bloat comparison stats has to be the Great Dane, however. It has been shown that the Great Dane may be up to 41 times more likely to develop bloat than any other dog breed - a stunning statistic by anyone's standards!
Recognizing the signs of bloat are tremendously important for all owners and breeders of all large and giant breed dogs - including the German Shepherd. The sooner you can recognize a dog in distress and the quicker you get it veterinary attention, the better off the dog will be. Remember, bloat requires immediate veterinary care!
Bloat is a terribly frightening condition for GSD owners to deal with. It is true that many German Shepherds will survive bloat and go on to live normal lives - IF diagnosed, treated quickly and aggressively enough. Otherwise, it is very possible that the dog will die! There are surgical procedures to both take care of bloat once it has occurred but also to prevent it from happening in the first place. However, you always want to prevent surgery if at all possible with your German Shepherd.
What are the causes of bloat?
There are many theories including heredity and extreme activity before and after eating. No one still really knows exactly why bloat occurs, but research has discovered several risk factors that are associated with bloat. Here are a few of them:
• Eating large volumes of food once a day.
• Also, eating rapidly.
• Dogs with a narrow, deep chest have a 170% increase in risk.
• Having a first-degree relative that has bloated increases risk by about 65%.
• The typical onset of bloat in most giant dog breed dogs (that weigh more than 99 pounds) is 7 to 9 years old.
• It seems that the typical onset of bloat in most large breed dogs that weigh between 50 to 99 pounds happens usually around 8 to 11 years old of age.
As an owner of a dog breed predisposed to bloat, like the German Shepherd, I highly suggest that you consider taking your GSD’s normal daily amount of food and dividing it into two separate feedings to prevent this from happening to your own GSD. There are also other things you can do to help prevent your dog from bloating, such as not exercising your dog for an hour or so, before or after, a meal, feeding your dog from an elevated feeding bowl and never breeding a dog that has previously bloated to prevent it from passing this trait along to other German Shepherds down the road.
Always remember, bloat requires immediate veterinary care!
They [dogs] never talk about themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself, and keep up an appearance of being interested in the conversation." - Jerome K. Jerome
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Thank you for this web site. Very informative and well written. I
often advise my shepherd people to visit here for information. Again
Laura Page Warden
What a fabulous website!!! I really enjoyed reading about the history of the dogs. There is a ton of helpful information on here and defiantly something for every reader to enjoy!!!
Recently got a GSD again. Last time had GSD no internet etc. Cant believe how much info for free. Kenneth
I love and appreciate the helpful advice I found on your website!