By: Dr. Mike Lappin, DVM

***** This is a serious emergency*****

Characterized by distention of stomach with gas or fluid or both. It is a rotation of the stomach which seals off blood supply = volvulus or torsion depending on the axis of rotation. Bloat is extremely painful and is fatal if not treated immediately (within 1 hour!). It often traps the spleen as well. Causes are many but may include: anatomic predisposition or anomalies, dry food with excess water, exercise closely associated with feeding

Physiology of the Condition:
Blood return to heart decreases, cardiac output decreases, cardiac arrythmias may follow. Toxins build up in the dying tissues of the stomach lining. Liver, pancreas, small bowel are also compromised. Shock from low blood pressure and endotoxins rapidly develops. Sometimes stomach ruptures leading to peritonitis.

Symptoms ( may include some or all):
1. Attempts at belching
2. Increased gas noises from abdomen
3. Retching or dry heaves
4. Distended abdomen (not always visible)
5. Restlessness, pacing, crying, stretching out on floor
6. Anxiety followed by depression
7. Collapse
8. Whites of eyes get red as blood vessels dilate
9. Increased respiration rate

First Aid Treatment:
1. Call ahead to hospital so they will be prepared for immediate action and surgery if necessary
2. Veterinarian will attempt to decompress the stomach and treat for shock

Suggestions for prevention (not guaranteed but will increase odds!):
1. Feed two or three small meals daily instead of one
2. Discourage rapid eating
3. Do not exercise within 2 hours of a meal
4. Give water in small amounts when associated with food or exercise