Thursday, 21 March 2013

Boz, bloat... and hope



This is my own boy, Boz, who suffered a GDV last week - a gastric dilatation volvolus, colloquially known as bloat.

The picture was taken at 3am a week last Tuesday as the emergency vets worked to stabilise him before surgery.  When I took it I didn't know if Boz would live or die. He was in cardio-vascular shock caused by his stomach twisting and cutting off the blood supply back to his heart.

Bloat kills in hours and it is a horrible, agonising death. Because Boz was at the foot of my bed I heard him unable to settle and begin to moan in pain. He did not show the hallmark symptom of either unproductive or "thready" retching, but he couldn't get comfortable and his abdomen was tight as a drum. When I listened to his tummy, it was completely silent. A telltale sign.

At 1am, I put Boz in the car and drove to the emergency vets 12 miles away.

So we caught it early and the surgery was reasonably uneventful. When they untwisted Boz's stomach (and tacked it so it can't twist again) the constricted tissues perfused with blood again. A little longer and the tissue would have died, become necrotic, necessitating more extensive - and riskier - surgery. As it was, the only small complication was that he vomited when coming round from the anaesthetic and inhaled some of it, resulting in aspiration pneumonia. He needed supplemental oxygen for 24 hours and antibiotics for a week. But he is now back to his old self: my beautiful, and much loved, boy... all the more precious for his brush with death.

So WHY did Boz bloat?

• It might have been the large meal he'd eaten quite late that night. That's thought to be a cause. 
• It might have been that he is male  - and slightly underweight.  
• It might have been because he wolfs his food (bolting food is another suspected cause). 
• It might have been his basic conformation - Boz is a large dog with quite a deep chest; a known risk factor. 
• It might have been that one of his parents was a retriever, a breed prone to bloat. (Although his other parent was a farm collie, much less susceptible.) 
• It might have been his age - the risk of bloat increases with age. Boz is now 8 years old. 
• It might have been that he is quite a "stressy" boy - some studies have suggested anxious dogs are more likely to bloat. 
• I know it wasn't because he is fed with a raised feeding bowl - another reported risk factor - because Boz's bowl is firmly on the ground. 
• I know it wasn't because he's fed just dry food, because like all my dogs he is fed a mix of kibble, tinned meat, fresh chicken and various leftovers.
• And I'll never know if it was because he had a first-degree relative that had bloated (one of the key risk factors) because I don't know who they are.  Boz is a rescue crossbreed.

So  I don't know for sure. And that's in part because there has been surprisingly little research into the causes of GDV/bloat, despite it being a huge killer of dogs, especially in the highest-risk breeds. Without veterinary treatment, it is 95 per cent fatal. Even with veterinary treatment, not every dog survives.

According to the Kennel Club/BSAVA 2004 health survey, GDV was a cause of morbidity in 44 breeds, and a cause of death in 65 breeds. It found that GDV hit one in four Grand Blue de Gascoigne, almost 15 per cent of Bloodhounds, almost 10 per cent of Otterhounds and 7.2 per cent of Irish Setters. Great Danes, German Shepherds and Standard Poodles are other high-risk breeds.

So it's great to hear of new research initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic that will hopefully result in equipping breeders and owners with new strategies to help mitigate the risk.

In the USA, the AKC Health Foundation is offering grants totalling £250,000 (raised through the breed clubs) to researchers - details here and here.

And in the UK, there's an exciting new collaboration between the Animal Health Trust, the Kennel Club and the Irish Setter Clubs.

It involves the KC mailing the owners of every KC registered Irish Setter (~11,000) to ask if their dog has ever suffered bloat and ask them to fill in a comprehensive questionnaire with questions about health, temperament, exercise and feeding regimens and so on.  

"We are also going to ask owners to take some simple body measurements, to see if there is a correlation between any of them and an increased risk of bloat," explains Cathryn Mellersh at the Animal Health Trust.  "I’m doing this with Tom Lewis, who will estimate the heritablity of bloat, which will tell us how much of the risk is due to genes versus the environment.  As far as I am aware heritabiity has never been investigated before, but as this will hopefully be a large dataset Tom should be able to estimate it with a reasonable degree of accuracy."

This is a fantastic use of the KC database and genuinely exciting. Well done, too, to the IS Clubs for raising the £12,000 needed to help make it happen.

In the meantime, please make yourself aware of the symptoms of bloat. It is a genuine emergency and acting quickly can save your dog's life.

This video shows an Akita in fairly advanced stages of bloat. The dog was being filmed by his new owners, who had no idea what was going on. Fortunately, they got him to a vet in time and he survived. NB: it is distressing to watch.



Want to know more? Check out the Canine Bloat Awareness page on Facebook here.

References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8050972
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11128539
(http://www.moonstruckmeadows.com/Bloat%20(GDV)%20Study.htm)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22657929

121 comments:

  1. It's a horrifying event. My first malamute Bondi was another lucky survivor - even luckier because he survived despite being turned away from a veterinary emergency hospital 3 times because they insisted his pain (and bloated belly) was due to hip pain!!!!

    I cannot describe how radically my life would have been affected if he had died before his life had really started.

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  2. Just glad he is ok......scary

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  3. Glad to hear he is OK. How much time was there between you feeding him and his symptoms?

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    1. That is quite a while.

      I've not been able to find much information on the time frame they're most at risk after a feed.
      I would've thought I only had to keep a closer eye on my dog for a couple of hours at most after her dinner but I guess I'll have to stay alert for longer.

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    2. I just wanted to say bloat is not always triggered by food. Major, my 4 year old male neutered Labrador, has been bloating since he was 5/6 months old. Major will bloat while watching me prepare his breakfast...and he hasn't had any food in 12 hours. Bloat can occur at any time, on a full stomach or not.

      I'm so glad they have decided to do more research.

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    3. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Company-Animals-Interactive-Feeder-Green/dp/B009CKHXYU

      I like the look of this 'green feeder' by company of animals. The video details a dog taking 20 minutes to eat it's portion of food using this toy. Mental workout at the same time as the dog having to take it's time...

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  4. What is your evidence for raised feeding bowls being a risk factor? I've heard it both ways, and some studies on the topic would be appreciated.

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  5. It was the 2000 Purdue paper that found that raised feeding bowls were a risk factor. Have now added that and other references to the post above.

    Jemima

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  6. I'm glad he's ok. I have a friend who lost a young dog to bloat. So scary.

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  7. Despite the funding, I find it perplexing that so little is done relative to its fatality rate around entire marks of breeds. This isn't the only fatal problem by far, so I've never marked it specifically. Perhaps a list of powerful disorders/diseases/physical dangers would be great in showcasing just how many die, and how much of an epidemic it is relative to the crazy of, say madcow disease or bird flu. I remember how so many chickens China killed just from finding a few with it.

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    1. beef and poultry are our food supply It pays to be careful with it

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    2. By killing millions who may or may not have it, destroying a huge portion of the economy, instead of simply checking for it?

      Yes, why don't we kill large city populations because a few had polio back before we knew how to cure it?

      Perhaps you don't understand the meaning behind my words. My point, which has nothing to with your statement, but has everything to do with our mindset behind it, is what matters.

      Why does one supposed crisis get tons of media attention and guidelines, while we let other dangerous moral byproducts roam free without a peep besides small outlets like this blog? The example byproduct here is fatal for many dogs of a very malleable type, like breast or prostate cancer, yet we never hear about it.

      Others include the vastly higher mortality rate of vehicle-related deaths, yet we only hear about the vastly lower mortality rate of guns. Its intentional ignorance of the complete picture. Keep in mind my siding for or against guns has nothing to do with this, only the showing of relative statistics and outcomes versus another.

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  8. I had no clue a raised feeding bowl could up the risk factor. My granddaughter's dad has a goldendoodle along with a raised feeding platform. She's a big dog, and I've always worried that she would get bloat. I will be sure to pass on this info. She's the sweetest dog and we are all hopelessly attached to her.

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    1. The Purdue survey found a strong association with raised feeding, but I should say that it is hotly disputed by some, particularly those in giant breeds, many of whom still advise to used raised bowls.

      More research is needed.

      Jemima

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    2. I lost my first Standard Poodle to bloat. It happened twice a number of years apart. He survived the first time due to the swift action of the vet. The second time we never had chance to operate as his heart gave out with the strain. He was always fed from a raised bowl. I don't use raised bowls now.

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  9. Thanks for sharing and educating us Jemima - I'm so pleased that your beautiful boy is on the mend.

    What I am not so pleased about is that dog shows are a well known stressor for inducing this condition.

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    1. Yes, I saw that on the link I posted and was surprised to see it - I haven't found a specific mention of dog shows being a stressor in the literature, although may have missed it.

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    2. To be fair, racing and lure coursing are also known to be 'stressful' for Whippets, but that doesn't mean to say the dogs don't love doing them!

      What I'm trying to say is, activities that a dog could absolutely love, could just as easily be stressful. I'm sure agility and flyball should be on this list, seeing as dogs with Addison's disease have to avoid them. It seems a bit unfair to single-out dog shows.

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    3. Anaon 08:49 here.

      There are different types of stress though – exercise causes physiological stress to the body, but not psychological. Engaging a dog in a frantic game of fetch for ten minutes can get a particularly driven dog to get shaky legs and eyes looking like they are on out on stalks due to the effects of adrenaline racing around its body. But it's not in a state of distress.

      Being paraded around a show ring after having endured numerous baths; endless grooming; cage confinement; forbidden from interacting with other dogs; limited physical exercise (in case of dirt and injury); handled and prodded by strangers etc. is an entirely different set of circumstances that could well induce some serious psychological stress in a dog that has not been adequately conditioned or finds the environment distressing. The long term effects of cortisol in the system could perhaps play a part?
      I'm off to do a literature search.
      NC

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    4. NC again,

      Flyball - definitely causes a lot of hyper and adrenalised dogs who can inappropriately re-direct that excitement onto other dogs if not handled correctly.

      There is lots of debate about the long term effects of stress hormones in the body in the dog behavioural world too. But, exercise and providing appropriate outlets for working dog's drives are essential to their physical and mental health. It's a delicate balance, finding the right amount and type of exercise for your particular dog so you don't deplete the dog's ability to self-control and to minimise the effects of adrenaline. You can't convince me that showing dogs is of benefit to their welfare though, and if there is some evidence to suggest that a number of dogs have being diagnosed with bloat after attending dog shows, then it's another nail in the coffin as far as I am concerned.

      I am half Vulcan when it comes to logic and reason though so I would want to see some evidence of that somewhere to be convinced, Jemima's reference to the wesbite listing the symptoms is a good start.

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    5. Any excuse to turn it into a bitch about show dogs!!

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    6. You're not reading right...

      Jemima

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    7. For once j I'm not talking about you but the comment above.

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    8. Anon 10:53

      I'd say more an opportunity to discuss and learn about how we can continue to improve the welfare of ALL dogs, but the pressing concern of the welfare issues associated with showing pedigree dogs remains and will do as long as current parctices stay the same. I'm sure you would agree if you could look at this objectively and with a view to empathising with the dog as a sentient being with a rich emotional life, as opposed to some sort of warped vanity project and a cash cow.

      But the saddest thing is that you think that someone who almost lost their beloved pet dog to GDV would use the experience as an opportunity to 'bitch' as opposed to raising awareness in other dog owners of the severity of this condition if it is left undiagnosed. Jemima certainly doesn't need anyone to stick up for her, but she shared this distressing event in order to help educate people about doggy welfare.

      You really aren't reading things right....

      NC

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    9. Your really quite a judgmental prat, i have a breed that is not desirable therefore if your that way inclined makes no money, nor am I a top winner, we merely go for a day out he enjoys it I enjoy, infact if my one boy is on a break he gets very upset andworried if he thinks hes being left behind. I don't care if you believe or agree you have zero affect on what I do but o would of thought if yu were the dog lover you say you would be glad that they have a good happy healthy life.

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    10. Secondly I was saying you are using it as a chance to bitch not jemima.

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    11. Anon 12:37

      'we merely go for a day out he enjoys it I enjoy, infact if my one boy is on a break he gets very upset andworried if he thinks hes being left behind'

      Separation anxiety - any dog can suffer from this, regardless of whether you are off to the shops or a dog show. He lacks the cognitive ability to believe he is being left out.

      As for you and your dog’s enjoyment of showing, then only you can be the judge of that.

      Whether you agree, disagree or are indifferent to my opinions expressed regarding canine welfare isn’t really relevant because you have taken my opinions personally as opposed to in the spirit of participating in the discussion at hand – bloat in dogs.

      Of course, you don’t know anything about me to suggest that I am not a ‘dog lover’, but just to reassure you, I have dedicated considerable finance, time and effort in educating myself about canine welfare, behaviour, training and breeding to ensure that my own dog no longer has to suffer as a consequence of irresponsible actions by so called other 'dog lovers.'

      As a dog lover who is dedicated to ensuring that welfare is of primary concern, I have adopted a mutt from the Dog’s Trust who had been abandoned as a stray at 6 months and neglected by a couple of owners as she was not really considered ‘pretty enough or the kind of dog they wanted’. As it has turned out, she is a fabulous dog and she is very healthy. I am very grateful most of all for her good health which I consider to be partly due to her ‘good breeding’ i.e. her genetic variation. Yes – she is a mutt, not a pedigree, but good breeding is about variation not homogeneity in my considered opinion.

      My contributions on this blog are based on science, research and empiricism as well as anecdotal. What are yours based on? Reacting emotionally to an opinion you don’t agree with?

      As for referring to me as a prat, well it usually takes one to know one doesn’t it?
      NC

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    12. The take one to know one comment says it all really.
      I have many years experience in breeding healthy dogs, have read/researched plenty on health.
      Have owned rescue crossbreeds one who died of cancer at 8 another cross that had cherry eye. My Spitz have all lived past 12 so far, no major vets expenses with them. I also pay monthly to dogs trust and also RSPCA up until last year.
      Anymore questions like say my favorite colour???

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    13. Oh and no it's not seperation anxiety as he only does it when the show bag comes out not any other time when I'm going about normal business.

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    14. NC, why do you think show dogs are "forbidden from interacting with other dogs; limited physical exercise (in case of dirt and injury)"? When not at a show, the huge majority of show dogs live an identical life to a (well-cared for) pet dog - romping in the park or through the woods or on the beach with other people's dogs - because that's exactly what they are - pets 'with a social life'. If they don't get enough physical exercise they wouldn't have the muscle tone required for success in the ring. The distress they exhibit when they see the showbag being put into the car but they are left at home for whatever reason is clear evidence that THEY don't find going to shows upsetting.

      And as for being 'handled and prodded by strangers etc'; I know several show dogs who are also PAT dogs, visiting hospitals and care homes, to be patted and handled and prodded by strangers. It's not a bad thing, and really something that all dogs should be trained to accept happily in our modern anti-dog society.

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    15. Thanks Mary that is reassuring to hear about PAT dogs. Forgive me, when the best in show won in 2012, her owner stated 'that she was far too precious to be taken out on walks'.

      This is what gets transmitted to the public and I am sure that you will agree, it isn't what you would hope to be communicating to people to create a good impression of showing. Pets can have an active social life without having to be paraded around a show ring though. Training classes and agility keeps my dog on her toes, as well continual socialisation through accompanying my hubby to his business daily. Not forgetting her daily walks - the result of which I have never been fitter or trimmer in my life, aged 40. I hope this isn't offensive, but there are quite a few handlers parading dogs at shows who really don't look like they walk their dogs much! Do they get other people to do this for them? It's not a great advert.

      I have seen some awful handling of dogs at shows unfortunately, (a trainer friend shows Spaniels) and I have grimaced watching unnecessarily harsh lead tugs on choke chains whilst the dogs are paraded, all for the sake of......well, what? And not all dogs will enjoy being patted, stroked and prodded Mary. It will be something that they will have to endure, if they have not had classical conditioning to make this pleasurable. Hence my concern that dog shows may be of significant stress to some dogs, who have the predisposition to bloat and don't enjoy the process.

      But it is good to hear that some have graduated to therapy work through their socialisation and conditioning from attending shows.

      Thank you for enlightening me.
      NC

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    16. No problem, NC, I'm curious, however, as to why you seem to despise participation in a showring is any different IN THE DOG'S MIND (apologies for caps but I don't seem able to type in bold for emphasis) to participating in agility or in training classes. Your dog's life is identical to that of a huge number of show dogs - being taken out and about with the owner (to your husband's work), daily walks, socialisation events such as training classes, agility in your case, training classes and showing for others, training classes and flyball for yet more. The 'outside events' are chosen by the owner, not the dog, and after all, if a dog doesn't enjoy agility its owner won't (or shouldn't)take it - likewise if a show dog doesn't enjoy itself then it won't do well and the owner will (again, should) stop taking it. Show dogs, however, tend to be much calmer temperamentally than agility or flyball dogs, so if stress is considered a factor in bloat then these activities must be very high on the list of trigger factors.

      I never realised that dog shows were about the size or physical fitness of the handler - that's never been made clear before. I thought it was the dogs who were supposed to be judged! There are fat pet dog owners too - I assume you criticise them in the same way, regardless of the condition oftheir dogs.

      You say you have seen some awful handling of dogs at shows; I have also seen extremely harsh treatment of dogs in all sorts of situations but most especially in the street; one getting a thrashing with a stick stands out. That doesn't mean it can be extrapolated that people who beat their dogs in the street are typical!

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    17. Mary, I did decipher earlier between different types of stress. The physiological effects stress caused be exercise and redirecting drive (see my comments on Flyball above) and psychological stresses the dog may encounter when taken to dog shows (again see above) are very different. If there have been any studies of raised cortisol levels in show dogs, this may be an indication that my concerns about aspects of showing are founded. Again, see my previous comments - I like to see evidence.

      Each dog is different and finding appropriate outlets for individual dogs will depend on what the owner likes to do, how sociable the dog is around other dogs etc. I personally do not like the show ring. And that's because I am perfectly capable of forming my own opinions on my personal experience and opinions on welfare. I can't stop anyone else from participating and indeed wouldn't. But the problem is opinions are like a******s, everyone has them and if you participate on blogs like this, you are going to read stuff that conflicts with your own. That's life. However, if you can take some time to detach yourself emotionally from your opinions, you can open your mind to other people and empathise and perhaps look at things in a different way and understand that concerns are raised out of welfare for the dogs.

      As for referring to how people handle their dogs in the street, well let's not go there! This thread was about the risks of bloat and the show ring being a risk factor.......lets just stick to the issues. My concerns raised have therefore been about possible sources of stress in show dogs. I did hope not to not cause offence but i have wondere that if an owner/ handler was obese that the dog may not be getting exercised regularly, particularly important in working dogs. It's just an observation, not a judgement.

      And Mary, it's perfectly OK to agree to disagree too. There is no way you will be able to convince me that showing dogs is a good thing for me personally. But each to their own......however, the health issues remain.

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    18. I have to say after camping at a agility show, it would now be my worse nightmare participating in that, all the dogs are highly strung awake at crack of dawn and mayhem ensues. To me they seem highly anxious waiting for the chase. Every dog is constantly pushed to beat the last score, I don't think thats particularly in the interest of the dog either but there you go each to their own.

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    19. NC, it's perfectly fine that the showring isn't your cup of tea. Your posted perception of the life of a typical showdog was fundamentally flawed and therefore the conclusion you drew from it was equally flawed.

      Equally I find flyball unpleasant to watch because of the obvious strss and over-excitement displayed by the dogs - they're practically beside themselves, shrieking and leaping. That's my opinion and no doubt some people will agree and some disagree.

      What I don't do, however, is suggest that, because of my personal dislike of an activity, that other people who take take part in it are doing a wrong thing - it's that element of many comments on this blog which is offensive.

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    20. Absolutely Mary - it's just important to distance yourself so you don't take any of it personally. The competitive aspect related to showing, agility and Flyball isn't something that I would want to participate in personally, but some people really enjoy it and it can offer an appropriate outlet to build a great bond with your dog. Drivey dogs do benefit from activities such as agility and flyball and it's obvious the handlers enjoy it too. And of course, any dog can participate, not just pedigrees!

      I would argue that it's the competitive aspect of showing pedigree dogs that has pushed breed exaggeration to the limit in some breeds and a reason why this blog exists. Therefore, if you are taking offence at any concerns expressed regarding this, then that's really a problem of your own making. Because this was intended as an intellectual debate, not a personal attack.

      You may well argue that my model of the life of a typical show dog is flawed because of course show breeders love their dogs too! But I was referring to the cohort of dogs who may fihd it stressful and may be predisposed to bloat. Perhaps I did not explain that as clearly as I has hoped. I did list a possible list of stressors though that a dog may encounter at a dog show. Of course it would depend on the individual dog and whether they have had any desensitisation and counter conditioning to stressful events as to how stressful they found these actual events!

      A behaviourist at the Dog's Trust once told me that the most dog on dog attacks occur at Flyball events due to over stimulation. I understand this is anecdotal only, but he had concerns that certain types of dogs were probably unsuitable for ithe activity. As for agility, me and my girl simply mess about at our own pace and there is no pressure to compete. I spend most of the time laughing there to be honest as half the time my girl wants to be off in the bushes sniffing....

      I don't aim to offend anybody with my comments at all, merely hope to challenge current thinking and learn myself in the process.

      Peace out!
      NC

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    21. At least activities such as Flyball and Agility are a way of assessing health and function. The dogs have to be pretty healthy in the first place to participate.

      http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/3_1/features/Easing-Your-Dogs-Stress_5031-1.html
      References Turid Rugass, Norwegian dog trainer who has studied stress in dogs.
      Mentions bloat and stressors - dog shows and intensive exercise mentioned.

      Any anecdotal incidences of bloat post dog shows or agility/Flyball competitions I wonder?

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    22. Yeah they're healthy so start with, until theg get every injury under the sun or their bodies just cant cope with it.

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    23. >What I don't do, however, is suggest that, because of my personal dislike of an activity, that other people who take take part in it are doing a wrong thing - it's that element of many comments on this blog which is offensive.

      Are you sure you don't do that? Consider say murder, rape and dog fighting. I'm sure you consider these activities wrong, and that anyone who does them are doing a wrong thing.

      I am in no way equating showing with these activities, just pointing out that a "to each his own" defense is just a way to evade the actual question.

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    24. Anon 22:28
      What has that got to do with bloat?!

      Anon 12:38
      Is there any evidence that dogs can become 'adrenaline junkies'? We see it in our own species - extreme sports etc. Seeing dogs up at the crack of dawn barking with excitement before the activity even starts would suggest that they are already massively hyper before they begin..However, the high risk breeds to bloat don't ususally participate a lot in agility and flyball to my knowledge, unless anyone has any other information? Usually collies, collie crosses etc.

      There are other implications to do with dogs and stress but lets just stick to the thread!





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    25. Anon 00:37

      It's the defensive 'don't have a go at me!' reaction that is the most worrying thing of all on here. A lack of ability or a reluctance to objectify criticism and look at the big picture. It's supposed to be about bloat in dogs yet people start banging on about how much their dogs love being shown etc. as though the thought of any objective discussion on the matter is forbidden in case you dare to suggest they are doing anything wrong.

      And great blogs like this are supposed in the name of progress...

      Immature isn't it?

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    26. "Are you sure you don't do that? Consider say murder, rape and dog fighting. I'm sure you consider these activities wrong, and that anyone who does them are doing a wrong thing."
      You're quite right, Anon 00:37. When I said "What I don't do, however, is suggest that, because of my personal dislike of an activity, that other people who take take part in it are doing a wrong thing" I should have clarified that I was referring to LEGAL activities.

      Anon 10:39. The point is that NC suggested that being shown might be so stressful to dogs that it is a trigger factor for bloat. If dogs enjoy being shown (and it's clear when you read their body language that they do) then this theory can be discounted. The hyperactivity and hysteria demonstrated by dogs participating in other canine activities is of far greater health concern.

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    27. ‘The point is that NC suggested that being shown might be so stressful to dogs that it is a trigger factor for bloat. If dogs enjoy being shown (and it's clear when you read their body language that they do) then this theory can be discounted. The hyperactivity and hysteria demonstrated by dogs participating in other canine activities is of far greater health concern.’

      Yes Mary - of the dogs that do actually enjoy being shown. There will be some dogs that don't actually enjoy the show ring as hard as that is for you to believe! And not everyone pays attention to what they SHOULD be doing in the best interests of their dog. ‘Should’ is an idealistic word and not grounded in pragmatism.

      The hyperactivity and hysteria demonstrated by other dogs who are participating in Agility and Flyball may well be relevant here IF they are predisposed to bloat by size, breed etc. A lot of agility/flyball dogs are probably not at high risk for bloat, as they tend to be BC or mixes that aren’t particularly large dogs but please correct me if anyone knows different. The main issue with these activities, as I understand, is that the aggression threshold is lowered and dogs become much more reactive when adrenalized. There may well be a chronic stress effect though if there is no significant down time between activity for the dogs to rest and re-charge. In chronic stress, other things come into play – serotonin and dopamine depletion too. The same concerns could be applied to show dogs IF they find the activities stressful. Just because they are not barking and shrieking in hysterics does not indicate that they may not be suffering from chronic stress. As you mentioned Mary, the importance of understanding your dog’s body language and recognising any stress signals is of paramount importance to understanding of your dog’s enjoyment of any activity, be that dog showing, agility, training class etc., particularly if a dog is susceptible to such an awful thing as bloat.
      NC

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    28. P45 of "The Complete Guide to the Border Collie" by Caroline Smith warns of the risk to Border Collies, so I'm guessing they're also at risk of the condition.

      And yes, NC, I'm well aware that there are some dogs who don't enjoy the show ring (although often they thoroughly enjoy attending!) - they tend not to do well and so they're owners stop taking them - who nowadays can afford to throw away £75 or so in entry fees and fuel? That doesn't mean that the show scene can be blamed for dogs bloating due to stress, when the majority of dogs which bloat never attend shows, and the majority of dogs attending shows aren't under extra stress! It's similar to blaming ice cream for seaside deaths in summer simply because more ice cream is eaten at the seaside in summer than in winter!

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    29. How do you know that the majority of dogs attending shows aren't under extra stress? Because you think so? or because you have irrefutable evidence?

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    30. 'Our data suggest that the interaction between a dog and its environment represents an important component of risk. Our study supports the notion reported by Glickman (2000) that personality factors such as aggression toward people and fearfulness or agitation in response to strangers or environmental changes were associated with an increased risk of GDV, whereas a "happy" and easy going temperament, submission to other dogs or people, high activity level, and attending dog shows decreased the risk of GDV. Studies by (Glickman, 1997) and Brockman suggest that a variety of stressful events, including kenneling and riding in the car, appeared to precipitate acute GDV episodes. Other studies have also evaluated risk factors by focusing on unique populations of dogs (i.e., show dogs and military working dogs), however most of these studies included relatively small numbers of dogs affected with GDV.'

      http://breedingbetterdogs.com/pdfFiles/articles/bloat-what.you.need.to.know.oct.5.2012.pdf

      There you go Mary - I found this today. I think looking at this, it balances your experience that dogs with the 'ideal temperamant' who are attending dog shows are actually at lower risk of developing GDV. It would appear, reading this particular study, that personality/temperament is a key risk factor even. A happy go lucky dog is more likely to be at a dog show, than a fearful reactive dog, sensibly of course. The best thing about most show dogs I would deduce, IS their temperaments. It's the health thing that screws it all up.....

      NC

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  10. I have a sneaking suspicion that dry dog food manufacturers are not going to like the results of this study.

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    1. Rehydrating dried food before feeding reduces the food swelling inside the stomach (it has already swelled up) so theoretically reduces the risk of bloat.

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    2. I think a big part of the problem is likely to be that dogs are not genetically designed to digest carbohydrate, least of all high temperature baked carbohydrates. In fact, they can't. So the majority of the material must edge its way uncomfortably through the digestive system, for expulsion as the characteristically large poops of kibble-fed dogs.

      I strongly suspect that kibble-fed dogs spend much of their life in a state of gastric discomfort. If only they could talk and tell us.

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    3. I actually recently saw an article about a study that showed that the ability to digest carbs may have been a large part of wolves becoming domesticated. It is the only study I've seen that shows this, but their reasoning seems very logical. Here's the link if you want to check it out http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jan/23/science/la-sci-how-dogs-evolved-20130124 It is very possible that dogs get more carbohydrates than their systems can digest, but I doubt they'd be so into their food if it made them feel sick : )

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    4. The domestic dog evolved on the rubbish dump; recent article here. They are omnivores.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21142870

      Mostly the problems would stem from a bi-product of pedigree dog breeding, although I'm not pointing the fingers at the breeders in blame. Bloat is a problem that can occur in any dog but without a doubt the genetic predisposition by some breeds would be a result of size, anatomy (selection for type etc.)

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  11. Me too Fran!! Another thing i hear alot is that wet and dry foods should not be fed together as they can induce bloat as they digest at very different rates, they say to feed the foods separate to avoid it. Its a genuine concern, i have 4 bullmastiffs and a boxer, my boxer's mother died of bloat 12 weeks after my boy was born, Bullmastiffs are renowned for bloating. My dogs are all raw fed...i thought this was the least likely diet to cause bloat...but then in the last few months i have heard of bullmastiffs fed a raw diet still dying of bloat. I get up at 5am to feed my dogs so i can be around for a couple of hours after feeding time to make sure i am there should something happen. I dont exercise before or after food, they are not allowed to play after food, i have been known to "burp" my dogs. If one of them looks slightly uncomfortable after feeding i use the pressure points in the knee caps which is supposed to make a difference. I thought younger dogs were more prone, then i saw more older dogs getting bloat. I worry all the time that should one of my dogs bloat will i be able to get them to the vet as they are so big, would they be able to get in and out of the van or would i have to carry them? It is literally a constant concern of mine to the point where i am pretty obsessed. If i leave the dogs with my partner for the day i am reminding him of the symptoms all the time.

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    1. Raw fed dogs can still get bloat, it's just far less likely. I raw feed my dogs, but still follow the precautions for bloat. It could be that although the Bullmastiffs were few raw, other precautions weren't followed, e.g. they were exercised too soon after feeding, or fed minces and allowed to bolt their food. Are you able to find out? It might help to put your mind at rest.

      It also helps to bear in mind that risk can't be eliminated, we can just do our best to reduce it. Life is a risk; we risk getting run over by a bus everytime we leave the house, but our lives are certainly richer for doing so!

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    2. Fran, is there any research that supports the statement that raw-fed dogs are less likely to bloat?

      Jemima

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    3. Jemima, I'll see if there is any. I imagine that like everything with raw feeding, there is no research, only anecdote and the occasional holistic vet report. I understand though that it's the carbohydrates in kibble that ferment in the dog's stomach and cause gas, and most raw-feeders don't feed grains.

      It does mention in the link you qouted though, that raw meat can reduce the risk.

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    4. Jemima, there was no research that I could find on Scirus or Google Scholar.

      A fair criticism frequently levied at raw diets is the lack of resarch. Unfortunately, longterm feeding trials are costly and with raw-feeding there's no 'manufacturer' to organise and fund them.

      I'm trying to find out from a research friend how feasible it is to set-up feeding trials on raw feeding (I imagine it's thwart with difficulties). Allergies and bloat would be top of my list of issues to research.

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    5. I also owned a dog, a Great Dane, who bloated and died on a raw diet.

      I have not looked at the research in a long time, but IIRC correctly the air in the stomach is not due to 'fermentation' (most foods are not in the stomach long enough to ferment, either they pass through or are vomited out) but is swallowed air that the dog is then unable to burp out due to malfunction of the esophageal sphincter.

      I have always found it interesting that the rose-eared sighthounds have bloat (Greyhounds, Borzoi) but it is very rare in the drop-eared sighthounds (Salukis, Afghans, Sloughis, Azawakh.) I still had Danes when I acquired my first Salukis, and I asked around and was only able to find two Salukis that had bloated; one after being attacked by another dog, and one with stomach cancer.

      There are many, many studies on how long it takes food to pass through the gastric system, so many that I get tired of arguing with people who insist this or that food is retained for however many hours. It is HIGHLY VARIABLE, even among dogs of the same breed fed the same diet. In general, soft foods that contain a lot of water pass through the stomach faster than harder, dryer, or denser foods.

      Some years ago, Monica Segal arranged with her local university (Guelph?) to study raw diets, the university would have borne most of the cost, and invited a bunch of raw food manufacturers to participate. ALL OF THEM DECLINED. I can think of only one company that has even done a feeding trial.

      And don't bother jumping on me as 'anti-raw', I've fed a home made diet for more than a decade, which includes raw meat and bones, and raised many puppies on it. I just don't like food zealots and there are many zealots in the raw food camp.

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    6. Jess, according to the link Jemima posted above [make yourself aware of the symptoms of bloat], Afghan Hounds are at high-risk for bloat and Greyhounds are not on the list (even though I know they can bloat).

      A high protein diet, particularly in the form of raw meat, is on the list of ways to help prevent bloat in the same link as above. There are no guarantees of course.

      I'd be interested to see the research for bloat not being due to fermentation, as that is the opposite to what I read recently on a veterinary site.

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    7. Afghan hounds do not make the list of high risk breeds in any of the formal published studies on bloat. Bloat doesn't even make the list in the ongoing results of the OFA Afghan health survey, which can be accessed online. They do bloat; most large breed dogs do have some risk, even the ones that aren't so deep and narrow chested. The Saluki I mentioned upthread, who bloated due to stomach cancer? She was mine. So yes, these dogs do bloat, no they are not at high risk, not anything like a Dane or an Irish setter. So you'll excuse me if I don't place a great deal of value on the word of a site that doesn't include links to published studies, but does include links to 'Homeopathic information.'

      Regarding room air: do a Google search for 'Glickman bloat room air,' and you will find many comments. One of the reasons that Glickman believes that raised bowls contribute to risk is that they encourage air swallowing. Gulping food does the same thing. There was a good deal of speculation about room air when I had Danes, in the mid-nineties. Dogs have bloated on empty stomachs, so the fermentation speculation, IMO, is fueled by diet zealotry. Fermentation, of which dog digestive systems do very little, takes place in the hind gut, not the stomach.

      A great many interesting things about a great many interesting subjects can be found by intelligent use of the Googles. Emphasis on intelligent. The aforementioned link with the 'homeopathic' information has no real references for any of it's statements, therefore it doesn't fall under 'intelligent use.'

      Some other links that may be of interest:

      Diet-Related Risk Factors for Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus in Dogs of High-Risk Breeds
      http://www.mrcrottweiler.org/bloat1.pdf

      Benefits of prophylactic gastropexy for dogs at risk of gastric dilatation-volvulus
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12941556

      Incidence of and breed-related risk factors for gastric dilatation-volvulus in dogs (pdf)
      https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:Oq1HKkuuFt0J:theborzoiclub.org.uk/download/i/mark_dl/u/4006870223/4524311510/incidence%252520breed-related%252520risk%252520factors.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjr4SyDOejowYCp3-7tY2cKR02C8Na9uTyMYnonJvZLUelCg_DKh4M2sYVbXFGqPXY8wODFTrTlGtuA0e6q5wpL9fHxEV2KY2f93XWcqRZQyNlSUXahSWdbGskjNWtUrEat2_Xm&sig=AHIEtbTYU1Rc9ZsiqINzeGiMU0QM4B9aiQ

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  12. I'm glad your boy is on the mend.
    This is a horrible condition which I don't think we will ever be able to avoid completely but there are some known risk factors as outlined in the post. There is also a definite familial link as at one practice a breeder had bloat problems in some lines but not in others and everything else was equal. Whether the prone dogs had a more nervous temperament, were more greedy or whether the difference lies in stomach motility itself I couldn't say.
    Dry food will always be a risk factor as it is easier for dogs to overeat but it doesn't mean dry food is dangerous, or that wet or raw food is safe. They are all simply risk factors which must be taken into account...
    VP

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  13. Good to hear his ok!!

    But one thing, I've always been told that for dogs that are known to bloat easily the higher placement of feeding bowl is suggested. That way the dog doesn't swallow so much air as he eats and that should prevent the possibility of bloating. Also no walking or running at least one hour before and after eating.

    I've known that this is a very common problem with large, deep-chested dogs for a long time. I have collies myself, and even though they are not exactly in the "risk group", I like to take at least an hour before and after walks before feeding them. Just in case.

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    1. Many now think higher feeding increases the air ingested! I feel below chest height is safest. But watch a dog eat a bone, they lie down and take their time.....maybe it's time and slowness which is the key. Kongs and gobble bowls are very useful. Or trickle feeding.
      VP

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    2. I'm very much in favour of trickle feeding, my dogs are fed when we are with an additional early evening supplement so this equates to 4 small feeds daily they get some cooked veg daily as well, they always have something to chew on at their leisure, there are many occasions when they still have some food in there bowls at the next feed. I would like to stress that I DO NOT have fat dogs I adopted this method as I was finding it difficult to keep condition on one of my dogs, clearly my dogs are not hungry and do not bother to bolt their food, thankfully I have no experience of bloat maybe this regime helps prevent it??

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  14. On Pete the Vet site, the little dog he rescued, Finzi, was given a dog bowl that had "pillars" in it that prevented her from gulping down her food. It looked a really good idea and whether a bowl is raised or not it would definately help with taking in too much air whilst eating. I have looked on line to learn about barf diets. The "commercially" produced ones are very expensive indeed. So could someone let me know what food they give to their dogs. I had a friend who used to chop up chickens and feed them straight to the dogs, raw. Her dogs were skinny but absolutely gleamed with health and vitality. I could never bring myself to do it with my own dogs. Is this what everybody else is doing? I think I would really like to get my dogs off cereal based foods. Thanks for all of the interesting informed conversations, very enlightening.

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    1. There are lots of raw meat suppliers, that simply provide you with various raw meats and it's up to you to balance them yourself. They work out a lot cheaper than the commercial raw diets. If you're on Facebook, there's a very good group called 'Raw Feeding UK'. They answer any questions you may have and there's a list of UK raw meat suppliers in the Files section.

      'The Dogs Dinner Revisited' by Ann Ridyard is a good book to get started with and she also has a helpful website. http://dogsdinner2.webs.com/ There's also 'Work Wonders' by Tom Lonsdale, or 'Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats' by Kymythy Schultz.

      WRT to the whole chickens, some people feed whole prey, some don't. It all depends on what they can source and how squeamish they are! :)

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  15. might think about tacking the stomach BEFOREHAND if you have a breed that is susceptible. and then follow the regime anyway for dogs that might bloat..
    Interesting that you point out that your dog is a mixed breed.. how do you know who the parents were if he came through rescue? and thanks for pointing out that the AKC is doing research to benefit ALL dogs including ones like yours and that the $$$ comes directly from BREED clubs.
    I am glad you dog is OK.. it is a scary thing.. bloat..and many do not survive..I am happy yours had a positive outcome

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    1. prophylactic tacking was suggested widely a few years back but hasn't caught on. A few vets have done it at spaying of females but otherwise people (vets and owners) are reluctant to open an abdomen to do a preventative tacking, especially as they can fail.
      vp

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    2. Jan, we are not entirely sure of Boz's history. His mother was described as "a long-haired Labrador" (so possibly a flatcoat, or possible a lab or retriever x) and his dad was a farm collie. This was the description from the person that handed him into rescue in south Wales. There are more pix of him here if you are interested in having a look: http://www.blackretrieverx.co.uk/Black_Retriever_X_Rescue/Boris.html

      As you can see, he looks pretty retrievery.

      As for the inference that I should be grateful that crossbreeds such as Boz may benefit from Kennel Club/breed club funding into particular health problems, you'll have to forgive me. If it wasn't for the Kennel Club breeding paradigm of closed gene pools, inbreeding and selection for form over function we wouldn't have such endemic rate of specific diseases in individual breeds in the first place.

      But thank you, Jan, for being happy that Boz survived. He is a lovely boy - and much loved here.

      Jemima

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    3. Some video of Boz taken a couple of days go:

      http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151792155114196&set=vb.395268360494824&type=2&theater

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    4. my point is.. the AKC and our breed clubs fund all sorts of studies that not only benefit the pure bred dogs but ALL dogs . like yours. We should all be grateful for that as kidney disease, heart and yes bloat.. strike all dogs.. mongrels, mutts, crossbreds and pure bred all dogs benefit...You really have no idea what sort of diseases would strike dogs if they were all scatterbreds.. and who then would fund research.. The HSUS? The RSPCA I think not.
      That said your dog is lovely and I am sure you do love him dearly as we do our pure bred dogs...and i really am glad you were educated enought o spot his symtoms.. many crossbred owners would not.. while pure bred breeders would..and the owners of their puppies would be educated as well.

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    5. bestuvall......unbelievable! Are you really insinuating that pedigree dog owners are more intelligent and more educated than the owners of mutts and crossbreeds? Do you have any evidence to support this bigoted comment? I am afraid that this sort of commentary does nothing except to further support the stereotypical snobby, yet rather thick pedigree dog shower/breeder. If you really were educated, would you continue to do what you do in the light of all the evidence against selective breeding for form over function? Disease, pain, suffering. And then buy the puppies?

      I have a mutt. I also am a scientist working in research educated to post graduate level. The reason I chose a mutt is because I am educated.
      Scattebreds! You are unintentionally hilarious!

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    6. Anonymous, what bestuvall said was in many ways correct; the producers/breeders of 'scatterbred' (or 'random-bred') puppies tend not to have done any research into the genetic background of either their bitch or the sire of the puppies (if known). Add that to the now prevalent belief that because a dog isn't a pedigree it is AUTOMATICALLY going to be free of all known ills, and you have the pet owner who is totally ignorant (that isn't synonymous with 'stupid' by the way) of health risks.

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    7. Actually, I agree with Mary and Bestuvall on this point. I think purebred owners are more generally aware of bloat (although not always), particularly if their breed is at specific risk, as many breeders will warn puppy-buyers - and/or they will meet other owners of the same breed who will warn.

      Jemima

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    8. I'd say it's more to do with the myth that pedigree dogs are somehow superior to mutts because they have been selectively bred. The KC refers to mixed breed dogs as Scruffts.....it stinks of snobbery and elitism!

      Why do you suppose that people who choose mutts over pedigree dogs, who by their very nature are an unnatural phenomenon, automatically assume that their dogs are never going to fall Ill? If my mutt was diagnosed with cancer or heart disease tomorrow, I wouldn't feel cheated or think that 'because she is a mutt she should be free of diseases her entire natural life'.

      Dogs are products of their genes and environments, like every other living organism, and mutts can and do get sick and die prematurely or otherwise, despite their genetic variation. Just like human beings do and we haven't been selectively bred. Your assumptions are unfounded really and are far too generalised. You are implying that because a mutt is cheap to purchase, or adopt, this means that only poor uneducated people purchase them. Priceless...

      There are people who exist whose priority is the welfare of the dogs that already exist in society and seek to put their money where there mouth is and not support irresponsible breeding of dogs by simply not purchasing puppies. Given the amount of unwanted dogs in rescue, thank heavens for them. Your stereotyping of the type of people who own certain types of dogs is misguided and misjudged. Because I'd say if you purchased a CKCS knowing that 90% suffer from cardiac disease, you could be judged to be ignorant or stupid too, even if you did go to University and hold down a well paid job.

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  16. Where possible I feed my dogs raw meaty bones or frozen raw chicken carcases (usually sold for soup) and then let them top up with a quality kibble. The edge is taken off their hunger with the raw food which they have to deal with slowly, so then they don't bolt the dry food.

    If the dogs are in a situation where they feel they have to compete for food with other dogs (possible in a show environment) then they may be more likely to bolt in down and risk bloat.

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    1. Dogs tend not to be fed during their day at a show (breakfast at home before they leave, dinner when they get back home in the evening) - competition for food is more likely to happen in the home.

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    2. what ?? dog in a "show environment " are more competitive for food? Really that is stretching it.. Jemima has multiple dogs. They are not in a "show environment" bloat happens.. stop trying so hard to blame breeders of show dogs..I know it is difficult but do try.. I might note that "show breeders' are probably even more acutely aware of bloat than your average owner.so probably less dogs die of bloat in the hands of knowledgeable people

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    3. Oh but bestuvall they are going to give it their best go!

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    4. Ha ha ha can't imagine a show dog will ever be hungry all those bits of liver sausages and cheese they get given all day!

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    5. It really hacks me off that some of you on here assume that those of us that don't show our dogs aren't knowledgable about their health and welfare.............is this more arrogance directly from the showring??

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    6. There is an arrogance that I also detect and it hacks me off too! It is important to stick to the issue here though. Just because you may not show your dog and you have not purchased your dog from a breeder ot it is not a pedigree does not mean that you failed to take the initiative to educate yourself about what medical emergencies, such as Bloat, you need to be aware of. With mutts you have to prepare yourself for anything really, due to the lack of history. Well, that's the approach i took anyway, obviously i can only speak for myself.

      There is a monetary value attached to pedigree dogs which is ironic given the fact that some breeds are faliing to bits, Because a dog may be cheap to purchase doesn't imply it's loved or cared for any less and some of these owners do take the initiative to educate themselves. However, it is reassuring to hear that breeders are responsible for telling prospective owners about the risk of bloat in susceptible breeds.

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    7. No, it's experience from veterinary practice! The ignorance and unwillingness to learn of the majority (there are of course exceptions) of pet owners is staggering. Why else would obesity be the major health issue of pet animals, when surely everyone knows how unhealthy it is?

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    8. May I enquire - without sounding cheeky I hope! - if there is distinct corelation between dog and owner with regard to obesity? My general observations would support that but are there some breeds who are genetically predisposed to obesity? There is some research in our own species with regard to leptin resistance and obesity, but of course poor lifestyle choices at of primary concern.
      Not understanding that this also impacts on your dogs is concerning, but unsurprising if you care so little about your own health too.

      Getting back to bloat in dogs, my dog sleeps downstairs and it horrified me to think that if I was ever in Jemima's position, she would very probably be dead. I wonder if I is best not to feed a meal too late in the evening?

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    9. No, there seems to be no correlation; sometimes the owners are also porkers, but just as often they're normal weight or even slender. What's guaranteed, though, is that the obese dog that waddles into the surgery, with appalling teeth, terrible halitosis, a matted coat and overlong nails that have (dewclaws especially) sometimes grown into the leg sure as heck ain't a show dog!

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    10. Well there we are you see, my dogs are pedigree and one purchased from a show breeder (a very lovely one at that) I have even been in the showring but I'm no more arrogant than I am ignorant, I took every step researching my breeds before I bombarded many breeders with questions, scoured the Internet, questioned our vets, hounded our local kennels and eventually made my selected purchase.................sadly my experience of show breeders is not a positive one at all!!!

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    11. Anon 20:39

      Good for you for doing your homework. If only everyone was as diligent....My experience of show breeders was also discouraging. Hence, I went in the other direction and adopted rescue mutts. I think the negative experiences had a big influence on driving me towards canine welfare and education though so in some ways, it had a positive effect!

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    12. Anon 11.08 ......... It staggers my how many people don't bother to do any research, on average all being well we are going to have these dogs for a decade or more, why wouldn't anyone bother to check them out first??? Like you the show scene opened my eyes big time as did PDE.

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  17. There seems to be a lot of focussing here on diet and the management of feeding . But given that some breeds are much more prone to bloat than others, and that the breeds who bloat tend to have deeper and/or narrower chests than breeds that dont bloat, would it not make sense to look more at changing conformation in the breeds that bloat?
    Or are breeders who breed for the show ring so hung up on type and "correct" conformation that they would rather seize on any explanation of bloat than consider changing the conformation which makes their breed prone to bloat? Would it really be so terrible to breed Irish Setters who are broader and less deep in the chest, and might look a little different - but were less prone to bloat?

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    1. A question for you as a breeder of Irish Red + White Setters, Margaret.. Is bloat as big an issue in IRWS, a closely-related breed but in general a dog with more moderate conformation?

      Jemima

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  18. oh Please.. many of the dogs that bloat are whippets snd greyhounds that never see a show ring.. and whose conformation has not changed in years.. and I mean YEARS. Lurchers bloat.. don;t see them in the show ring do you? let's be reasonable here.. bloat has been around for years.. it is NOT the breeders fault.. Jemima's dog is a cross. he still bloated.. You cannot hang it all on show breeders no matter how hard you try

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    1. Bloat is a risk in Greyhounds and lurchers yes, but they're not on the list of breeds most at risk of bloat. Bloat didn't even make the list for causes of death in the KC 2004 health survey in Whippets. It does suggest that the dog's conformation plays a part. If we find out that specific chest measurements increase the risk, it would be wise to breed away from such measurements, yes? This could be one example where the purebred dogs are at an advantage over the average mutt.

      Or do you not care that bloat kills more dogs than anything else bar cancer and just want to keep on breeding without having to take the dog's future health into any kind of consideration? Let's tack their stomachs, rather than do anything that might involve changing their conformation! Let's come up with even more invasive veterinary treatment so that we can keep on breeding dogs that look a certain way, without having to worry about what it's doing to the dogs themselves. Oh wait, with bulldogs, we already have!

      I really do get the impression from you Bestuvall that the dogs don't matter.

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    2. Where has bestuvall said that?? From all I can see is she has protested that for people that knock exhibitors at every opportunity the fact that research is being funded by a breed club is readily accepted.

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    3. Well, let's be honest here. Pedigree dog breeding - for form not function - has had a major effect on creating this problem. Therefore, to see the Breed clubs and the KC take responsibility and cough up for research is the decent thing to do. However, they owe this to ALL dog's, not just individual breeds. I do get this impression from bestuvall's posts of a 'us' (as in pedigree dogs) and 'them' (as in mutts) mentality. The emphasis seems to be on individual breeds as opposed to canine welfare in general. I siincerely hope i am barking up the wrong tree (pardon the pun) and when I read more posts I'll be eating my words......

      Breeders have to take some responsibility for breeds being susceptible to bloat when we know certain anatomical and physiological traits increase likelihood of the condition. All you have to do is not select for them.

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    4. Hi an interesting discussion I am glad your dog is okay you will have to keep a very close eye on it as bloat can reoccur. From my studies at University the largest factor associated with GDV as thoracic region depth and width, as many dogs will have a deeper than wide area it seems reasonable that the likelihood of bloating is there for many breeds and crossbreeds of dogs, However as with other expensive Veterinary surgeries it may be more likely that dogs who are highly valued (for whatever reason) are the ones who get life saving surgery, this means that these dogs are more prevalent on the list of dogs operated on for GDV surgery. Please also consider that many people who love a specific pedigree breed do work their dogs thereby letting their function help with selection as suitable dogs for breeding. I am not sure where this thread originated so I do not know if you are aware that any UK residing pedigree gundog needs to pass a working test to be considered a full UK champion as opposed to a show champion. This is not available in Australia so I work my dogs in Retrieving as this is what they were originally bred for. They came about because they were good at their job not as a fashion item or a show-off in the show ring. My chosen breed Curly Coated Retrievers are also on the list in some articles and it is important that if you like athletic dog breeds or conformation types that if you do know the history of the dogs ancestors and they are bloat free, then you can be safer from the dreaded bloat than by not knowing.

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  19. http://greatdanereview.com/html/bloat_article.html
    a very good article on bloat from a vet and a Dane breeder.. yes they are the same person!!

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    1. Thanks. A propyhalactic tack raises interesting ethical questions - although clearly the vet here thinks it should be done given the risk.

      So a question for you... Danes have got bigger and heavier than they used to be. The research suggests that around one in four bloat - a huge risk, especially for those that kennel their dogs. Now of course it might always have been so and only more recently recognised as such (we had two Danes when I was a kid and don't remember it ever being raised as an issue) but if the research showed that there was an increased risk with bigger dogs with deeper chests (within the breed) would Dane breeders agree to a change in conformation? Or whinge like the Bulldog breeders that "it would no longer be a Dane"?

      Actually, might raise that as a question in a separate blog.

      Jemima

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  20. Interesting.. bloat is one thing.. GVD entirely another.. who knew.. bloat is the expansion the stomach.. GVD the torsion of same..

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    1. Yes, should have made that clear in my post. So tacking the stomach should avoid another torsion (although as others have said, it isn't 100 per guaranteed as the tack might not hold(, but will not prevent another bloat, which is easier to treat - and not so life threatening.

      Jemima

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  21. Having lost our lovely quasi-GSD Harold to bloat many years ago, I sympathise with you, and am pleased that you were able to save Boz in time. This said, I'm surpised that you haven't mentioned that other animals than dogs can get bloat: sheep for instance are also prone to it! I therefore don't think that the kind of food has a significant impact on preventing GVD, but the quantity certainly has! In large dogs, and or exposed breeds, it's important to feed the daily ration in several small meals rather than one large meal. Onr should also avoid any form of overexercise after feeding!
    Also, tacking the stomach after after the first emergencyy operation may not permanently solve the problem: I've personally owned a dog who suffered from at least two (fortunately non fatal) partial torsions of the stomach requiring intubation well after the first bout of bloat...

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  22. Bloat is rare in Irish Red and White Setters and in working red Irish Setters compared with the incidence in show bred Irish Setters where it is widespread. But it does occur in one or two lines of IRWS. IRWS have a broader chest and rib cage , and the working reds are very similar in conformation to the working IRWS.
    Fiddling about with diet and raised (or not raised) feed bowls and limiting exercise is mostly about alleviating the condition , not PREVENTING the condition which is caused by conformation and genetics. Far better to get to the real causes - and then start BREEDING for dogs that are not conformationally and genetically predisposed to bloat

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    1. Just how many Irish Setters have you owned? and how many have had bloat?

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    2. You don't have to own Irish Setters to be aware of the bloat risk in the breed, Anon. It is extremely well documented.

      Jemima

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    3. GDV & Bloat in Irish Red Setters certainly IS well documented and I would expect most Irish Setter breeders to encounter it sooner or later in either their own dogs or dogs they bred. This is a health issue that seems to be more prevalent in the Show bred Irish - although having said that there simply are more show breeders of Irish Red Setters than there are or working lines.
      My personal experience is as follows: the family's first Irish Setter born 1975 died 1979 of GDV (as pet owners at the time we had no idea!). Second Irish born in 1979 PTS at a advanced age because of GDV (aged 14 1/2 yrs). I bred a litter in 1984, one dog from that litter survived GDV aged 8 yrs. Most recent case 2012 in my 12 year old bitch of my breeding who survived.
      I have also experienced the heartbreak of a friend's dog die aged 2 years due to GDV.
      I have come to the conclusion that there are different types of GDV, one more related to age and (possibly age related weakening of tissue) and the other clearly linked with to digestive issues and associated with previous bloating episodes without torsion. According to my knowledge of pedigrees these younger cases seem very clearly to have a genetic background, with close relatives having died due to GDV. Some of these dogs were being fed a raw diet BECAUSE they had digestive issues and despite the diet they died of GDV.

      I support and welcome all research going into finding a genetic background for GDV/bloat. But I would also welcome the idea of breeders adapting an aptitude wherein breeding for health and longevity had priority over breeding for show type.
      ... And would you believe it, I am actually an FCI show judge for Setters & Pointers...

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    4. YES! YES! YES! My young Lab suffers bloat everyday to some degree...some days it's a little puffy and others it's dangerously large. He had emergency GDV surgery at about 6 months. He suffers from IBS/D....I have both parents and they have no history of bloat, however I don't know about the medical lineage beyond them. I would agree with your conclusion that digestive issues are directly linked to bloat...and it's not necessarily due to age.

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  23. So when is best to feed our dogs? Pre or post exercise/walks?

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    1. It shouldn't matter when you feed your dogs. If they don't have a predisposition to bloat, they are very unlikely to bloat regardless of when you feed them or what food you give them. The point is to breed or buy dogs who don't have the predisposition. And the way to do that is not to breed or buy from lines of dogs where bloat has been known to occur, and avoid dogs with very deep narrow chests

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    2. Basically you're saying don't buy a large dog, as they're all more likely to bloat than small dogs.

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    3. Any incidences of bloating Labradoodles?

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  24. Look at the Irish Setter breed standard. It says "Chest as deep as possible, rather narrow in front" ie the ideal conformation for the breed makes them predisposed to bloat. And "type" is an over-riding obsession with many breeders of Irish Setter - read any internet group for Irish Setter owners and breeders, and you will read about "type" consistently. Sadly you will also read about bloat.
    But imagine the resistance there would be if there was a proposal to change the breed standard to describe a dog with a less deep or less narrow chest. Or if judges could be persuaded to put up dogs with a broader chest and rib cage? Or God, forbid, vets checks to disqualify Irish Setters with exaggerated deep narrow chests?
    Yes, the reality if that the best thing they could do to reduce the incidence of bloat , a killer in the breed, would be to change the conformation required for the show ring

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    1. On ES recently there was a proposal about this very subject in order to increase the gene pool. There was also a discussion to try and raise interest in a possible health data base whereby people contemplating a litter could access it to assess their own dog's pedigree health and potential partner. The information contained therein would be given on a free, without fear of litigation, basis. It was met with great hostility by the very people who were actually breeding and who should have been the most enthusiastic about working toward it's formation and hopefully a more healthy breed.. The diversionary tactics were worthy of any politician and needless to say they succeeded in getting the discussions closed. But if breeders continue to ignore their responsibilities, the case in Holland where the owner of a puppy that developed epilepsy but the breeder denied any knowledge of the condition in their bloodline won the case against them.One way or another pedigree dog breeders are going to have to address these known conditions. Curiously the word type kept cropping up, but of course in reality it doesn't exist, it is just setters bred for work and setters bred for show, there are some lovely stylish working setters out there and their attributes could really enhance the showing setters, whether the opposite would apply is debateable! Clearly the working setters are fit for purpose and their genetic pool would and should be used overall and the word type should be erased from everybody's minds. And I think that this relates to all gundogs and get back to a more normal, healthier type of dog that can breed into the future without gross exaggeration. Synsis

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  25. Jemima, do you know if captive canids (wolves specifically, but also foxes, coyotes, etc) are prone to bloat? I would assume it would be hard to determine if wild ones are, since cause of death is rarely known in shy wild animals.

    The reason I ask is it would be interesting to see if it seems to be a risk that is inherent for canines, but certain body types/dispositions/possibly feeding practices raise the risk? Or is it more or less a problem created by selective breeding? (No, I'm not blaming breeders; it would be an innocent by-product of breeding, not a sign of carelessness).

    It reminds me of colic in horses. Horses colic for a number of reasons, but of course the root problem is frequently that a horse is built to eat large quantities of low-quality food and walk most of the day; the captive lifestyle provides concentrated feed and much less exercise.

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    1. Beth, I have not studies wild canids, but it seems some of the ways to help prevent bloat in dogs, are automatically incorporated into how wild ones feed:

      A high-protein diet particularly of raw meat and containing bone. That would be a whole prey.

      No exercise immediately after feeding, most wild canids sleep after eating.

      And the risks:

      Gulping down food so lots of air is taken-in at the same time. Rather hard to gulp down a whole elk carcass. The nature of the prey - having to tear each mouthful off the carcass first - ensures the canid has to take its time.

      Drinking lots of water after eating. Unlikely unless the prey was killed near water. Fresh meat has a high moisture content though, so the need for water is less than on moisture-poor kibble.

      No exercise before food. It fails on this account, seeing as catching prey requires physical exertion. However, a large elk carcass takes a long time to eat.

      Wild canids prone to bloat would die earlier, so would pass on their genes to fewer offspring. This suggests that conformation problems predisposing them to bloat, would leave them at an evolutionary disadvantage.

      Size is also a risk factor, seeing as an estimated 1 in 4 Great Danes bloat. Wild canids do not reach such giant proportions.

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    2. Fair point Beth about bloat being an innocent by-product of breeding. But now breeders are aware of the issues and the predisposing factors one would hope they take this forward and review the current standards and practices.

      Hope, being the operative word.

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  26. I'm a bit shocked that smaller dogs can get bloat. I knew someone who had some Jack Russels, and one of the terriers got bloat. For some time I always thought large dogs got bloat. I sadly lost a Great Dane to bloat about three years ago. When I came home, it was too late. It's so sad when it happens, it's like a ticking time bomb.

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  27. My Irish Setter Seamus had GDV in Nov 2011. It was about 1/2 hr after his lunch and he had the usual symptoms: retching, restlessness and a few minutes later, the bloating. Luckily we got him to the emergency clinic in short order and had the stomach untwisted with a gastropexy. He has a deep chest but I would not call him a nervous dog at all; if anything he is the most guy imaginable. I do not know if his first degree relatives ever bloated as he is a rescue but that would have been interesting to find out.

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  28. How scary! I'm so glad he's okay. I have collies, and they can be prone to bloat as well, though we've not experienced it... hopefully we never will.

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  29. Having a bloat-prone breed myself (though - knock on wood - never had it in one of my dogs so far), I suggest everybody whose dog belongs to the risk group get a bloat emergency kit. This is truly one of the only absolute emergencies that can kill a dog within the hour, so reacting quickly is of paramount importance.

    * Gas-X or similar medication - useful when a dog has bloated, but not torsed yet so that it can still swallow the pill.

    * Mouth block, vinyl tube and lube to enter the stomach through the mouth and relieve the pressure (again, this only works when there is no torsion yet, otherwise you won't be able to enter the stomach)

    * Thick needle or small troccar and large-volume syringe to relieve pressure. Your dog will still need surgery, but relieving the pressure will buy you some time to get to the vet's, which can be life-saving if your nearest 24-hour emergency clinic is not very close.

    (For emergency decompression, also compare http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23373833)

    BTW, bloat does have an inherited component, with first-degree relatives of a bloat case having about 3.5 times the risk of developing it themselves when compared to the general population. (according to Glickman's 2000 "Non-dietary risk factors" paper quoted above)

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  30. I went on a canine First Aid course a few weeks ago, run by Animal Aiders. It was excellent and I would recommend them. On their data sheet for bloat, one of the increased risks was from eating food smaller than 30mm (3cm) - that's all kibble!

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  31. I found this article helpful for the risk factors of bloat:

    "From the research performed to date, we can list several factors that, added together, can characterize the typical dog that develops bloat: a deep and narrow chest; leanness; a relative that has had a bloat episode; eating quickly; a dry-food diet; a single, large daily meal; stress; and a fearful, nervous, or aggressive temperament."


    http://goldenrescuestlouis.org/Bloat.asp

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