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Bloats Due to Hot Weather
The digestive emergency known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) or bloat is bad news for your dog whenever it may strike -- if you have a large, deep-chested breed who is extremely active in the summer months, then you may special cause for concern when the weather turns hot. Hungry, dehydrated pets may put themselves at elevated risk for this expansion and twisting of the stomach, which commonly requires life-saving emergency surgery to correct. Our veterinary team here at Animal Emergency Care of Braselton want to make you aware of this issue you can watch for it and protect your beloved pet from its consequences.
True to its name, "bloat" refers to a bloating of the stomach. All breeds are potentially vulnerable to bloat, but the condition occurs more frequently in larger or more deep-chested breeds (with Great Danes at the top of the list). The risk for bloat also seems to rise with age. Dogs swallow a certain quantity of air when they eat; when too much air is consumed without being released as gas, the stomach may expand to a dangerous size. This can interfere with the return of blood to heart, impair blood flow to the stomach lining, put pressure on the lungs and diaphragm or even cause the stomach to rupture. An added complication occurs if the stomach twists on itself, making the passage of food and air impossible. This condition can be fatal and calls for immediate emergency care.
How does hot weather make bloat more of a threat? We have treated several dogs recently for bloat related to summertime heat and activity. Owners who give their pets lots of exercise but don't provide regular water breaks end up with an extremely hot, hungry and thirsty pet. The pet then gulps down food and water in excessive quantities and at excessive speed. The stomach twists, trapping the food and water in the stomach until the mixture ferments and gives off gas, creating boat.
You can help prevent bloat by making your pet eat and drink small quantities several times a day while not letting him get overworked and dehydrated in the heat. If bloat does occur, your dog may have a distended belly, appear visibly uncomfortable or anxious and avoid sitting down. If he then tries to vomit but cannot produce anything other than phlegm, suspect bloat and get your dog to Animal Emergency Care of Braselton immediately. We can confirm the diagnosis through x-rays and lab tests right away and remove the air via needle or tube. If the stomach is twisted, surgery can straighten it out again.
Don't let hot weather contribute to a case of bloat in your beloved pet. Call our veterinary team at (470) 209-7222 to learn more about protecting your pet from this condition, not just on the "dog days" of summer but all year round!