A friend of mine had two dogs, a female Doberman and a male Doberman/Great Dane mix. This past weeks, after fourteen years of companionship, she had to put her Doberman to sleep. A mix of old age and arthritis had just dropped her quality of life too low for my friend to bear any more.
The loss of the companion didn’t just affect my friend it also affected her other dog. She rushed the male to an emergency vet clinic with a case of canine bloat. Her dog’s stomach had dialated and rotated cutting off both entrance and exit to the stomach allowing gasses to build up with no place to go and cutting off blood supply to the stomach and spleen.
Her dog lost his spleen and it’s debatable that he will survive. There is a good bit of necropsy in the stomach. If this dog survives it will be a long road to recovery for him.
While my heart goes out to her and her dog I’m writing this in hopes that more people will become aware of what bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus, is and just how dangerous it is for a dog. Veterinarians aren’t sure exactly what causes it but appears to be brought on by stress. Heavy exercise on a full stomach also plays a factor in the onset of this malady.
Large and giant breeds with deep chests seem to be at greatest risk with Great Danes being most at risk. Symptoms to look for are excessive drooling, non-producting vomiting or wretching and a distended stomach. If your dog exhibits these symptoms get it to the vet immediately. This is not something that can be treated at home.
This incident with my friend has been heart wrenching for me. In relaying what happened to her dog to you I’m hoping that some good might come out of this. Even if my dogs never suffer from this exact ailment it has caused me to stop and think about the healthcare of my dog. I just added the local emergency animal hospital’s phone number and address to my cell phone address book. I also added the Pet Poison HELPLINE (800.213.6680) to my address book. The important thing is to at least know which symptoms mean to get your pet to the doctor immediately and know where to take your pet when such emergencies arise.
Update — My friends dog didn’t make it. C, I’m so sorry for your grief.