Mastiff Index
Reporter Archive
Sharon Krauss
Mastiff Reporter Archive
[Previous]   [Archive Index]   [Reporter Home]   [Next]
Lisa Nicolello

Signs of Bloat

(Having recently worked for six hours on a Great Dane in the clinic to save her from bloat and hearing about the recent tragic losses of the Hiblers and Laurie Adams, I felt some indication as to the warning signs of bloat would be appropriate. Speed is of the essence in dealing with bloat so even if you are not sure, err on the side of safety and get your dog to a vet).

Reprinted from Ralston Purina Company "Notebook" by way of "Bloodlines", Jan/Feb, 1995

Described as "the silent killer," bloat can strike an apparently healthy dog without warning. For this reason, a dog owner should be aware of the following warning signs of bloat:

  • A sudden display of discomfort is the first warning sign. The dog may whine, pace, sit and get up again in an unsuccessful attempt to be comfortable.
  • Frequent attempts to vomit produce no results.
  • The abdominal pain and distention become more evident.
  • The dog may not be able to rise.
  • Signs of shock become evident: pale gums, rapid heartbeat and irregular, shallow breathing.
A critical problem associated with bloat is irregular heart rhythm, which may occur several days after the bloat has been corrected.

Bloat is life-threatening and emergency treatment must be obtained immediately.

As a safeguard, whenever a dog shows signs of illness, prompt veterinary treatment is recommended.


Based on current knowledge, the following strategies are suggested to help protect against bloat:

  • Avoid sudden dietary changes. If it is necessary to change a dog's diet, it should be done gradually over a seven to ten day period.
  • Feeding two or more small meals a day is recommended.
  • Feeding should not be preceded or followed by exercise.
  • In a multi-pet household, feed dogs individually in a quiet place. This may help clam dogs who gulp their food or feel they have to protect it while eating.
  • Dogs who habitually gulp their food may benefit by mixing dry food with water. This increases the volume and may help to slow them down.
  • Keep the dogs as quiet as possible before and after eating.
  • Do not allow a dog to drink water immediately after exercise or undue excitement.
  • Try to avoid or alleviate situations stressful to a dog.
Disrupting a dog's regular routine should be avoided or minimized as much as possible.


In treating bloat, a tube is passed into the stomach to remove the gas and stomach contents. If this is unsuccessful, surgery is generally used. Even if decompression with stomach tubing or surgery is successful, gastropexy is recommended. Gastropexy is a surgical procedure which affixes the stomach to the body wall.

Treatment of Gastric-dilatation-volvulus and a Rapid Method for Prevention of Relapse in Dogs published in the November 1, 1993 issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association" reports a study of 134 cases of dogs diagnosed with bloat during a three-year period.

Reoccurrence rate for dogs with surgical treatment, was 6.6%, significantly lower than the recurrence rate of 75.8% in dogs with medical treatment only.

Because bloat can reoccur, following the veterinarian's recommendations for follow-up care and examinations is essential.

Stud Dogs
Mastiff Index Mastiff Health Progressive Retinal Atrophy Litter Anouncements Mastiff Reporter Mastiff Stud Dogs Articles About Mastiffs Pedigree Program Deb Jones' Home Page
Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997,1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 by Deb Jones. All rights reserved.
Contact us at