Losing a dog to bloat


I wanted to do a series of posts addressing very common dog diseases/ailments. We’ve lost 3 dogs to these and I’m always left questioning if I could have done something different, better, or something to have kept these loves of my life around longer. The answer is mostly no, bloat being the possible exception.

The first dog I personally owned, was a purebred Doberman puppy whose parents were turned into the rescue.

The year of his 6th birthday, Joseph and I went out one evening and when we came back, Caesar didn’t greet us when we came home. He was out in the backyard and wouldn’t come to us. It was so weird. I then noticed that he had been up on the guest bed, peed all over it, and had also jumped on our bed. When he finally came in, his abdomen was huge. We knew that wasn’t right. We called our vet, which had suggestions for emergency care facilities. We called one and headed over.

Let me say this. Bloat is such a common affliction for so many dog breeds. It is such a quick, yet slow death. If you are not home and with your dog when bloat happens, it’s likely a death sentence for your dog. You basically have 20min to get that dog to the vet and into the surgery room if you want to even think about saving that dog. I’m serious. Even if you’re that fast, there are still no guarantees. The rescue owner’s own dog got to the operating table in time and ended up dying from heart complications after the fact! We had no idea how long Caesar had been bloated, but it was at least, AT LEAST, an hour. It took us 20min just to get to the vet. Bloat is a twist and flip of the stomach. It cuts off circulation to the organs downstream. Caesar’s organs were likely already failing. Surgery would have done nothing. Yet we sat in that lobby, sobbing, trying to figure out if we could borrow the $5k for surgery. That vet, who we hate, should have just told us the facts. Addendum, we were told later by our vet that it’s possible to let the air out to keep the animal more comfortable.

We were devastated. We knew nothing about bloat. We didn’t have any known options. So we put him down. Which was the most horrific euthanasia, which I won’t go into. We thought it was our fault. We thought we killed a totally healthy dog. It took us so much research and talking to people in the know to finally come to peace with what killed our dog.

This can be prevented with a gastropexy. It’s a stapling of the stomach to the outer wall of the abdomen, essentially preventing the stomach from flipping. RMGDR does it as a standard when fixing Danes. We do feed all our large dogs from an elevated food dish, but that may or may not actually help anything. There are also theories that it’s hereditary. Just because we had a pure bred dog didn’t mean we knew any bloodlines or anything. That might not have even come into play. Speaking of play, allegedly not letting your dog play hard after eating is supposed to help too, but even that isn’t a fact.

It’s an ugly way for a dog to die and it was particularly scaring for us as first time dog owners.

posted under Misc, Other pets/animals

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