|Posted by petemergencyclinic on February 22, 2015 at 12:40 AM|
Dear Fellow Pet Lovers,
I keep up with our recent themes of food, eating, what is good, what is bad, etc., I want to bring up the topic of BLOAT.
Recently, I treated 4 pets that either had symptoms directly caused by food bloat or that food bloat complicated other symptoms.
What do I mean when I say FOOD BLOAT? Generally, this refers to when the pet eats an excessive amount of food to the degree that the stomach, and maybe the first part of the small intestine, are overly filled, causing discomfort and maybe worse.
In the case of one dog with heart disease but no symptoms, the pressure on the diaphragm from the bloat probably triggered heart symptoms.
Why does this happen? I am not totally sure, but dogs will "gorge" when given the chance. Maybe it relates to their distant past in the wild, when they may not have eaten for 2-3 days, then got a meal, and had to eat fast to ensure getting a share.
What do we do to make it worse? Generally, when we feed a bowl full of dry food once per day, we are more likely to see this condition. The pet gorges and eats a lot of the dry food, then drinks water. The dry food kibbles, already filling the stomach, swell dramatically with the water, and now the stomach is over-full.
Usually the over-full stomach is just a nuisance, but in some cases it can cause dehydration as fluid from the body is directed to the stomach, and in certain, usually large breeds, the over-full stomach may then twist and can then cause death without immediate surgery.
So, what to do about feeding?
1) Feed multiple meals, at LEAST two, daily, to reduce "gorging."
2) You may want to water-soak dry food 5 minutes prior to feeding to allow the kibbles to swell prior to entering the stomach.
3) If you have one of the breeds (Great Danes esp. and others) that tend to bloat and twist, ask your DVM about "tacking" the stomach into the correct place so it will not twist. (It can still bloat) If your dog is a female, it may be done at the spay. In a male, it would probably be a surgery in its own right.
4) Feed only a high quality diet, as these are often more digestible. I again mention that any diet with the word Blue in its name likely will eventually be a problem, so avoid them.
You CAN do something about pet illness.
That is all.
Dr. John Emerson, Pet Emergency Clinic