BLOAT true medical emergency: a must read for GSD owners - Page 5 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #41 of 295 (permalink) Old 01-15-2007, 09:46 AM
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Re: Help needed with bloat

I've never had a dog bloat, my dad however, is a Great Dane man, and 3 dogs in the one family bloated. Grandfather, Son, and Grandson, all males. His other unrelated dogs have never bloated. I'm thinking it must be mostly genetic, and maybe more common in males.

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post #42 of 295 (permalink) Old 01-15-2007, 08:56 PM
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Re: Help needed with bloat

OUr last baby King died of bloat at the age of 13, he is still missed. His came on too suddenly to be an aide to him. One of the things that we were told to do to prevent it with further dogs is NOT to allow them to eat out of bowls on stands. It allows to much air to go down into the stomach cavity.

Reduce carbs if feeding dry foods, avoid those with citric acid. Add prozyme to foods, avoid alfalpha, soy bean products and brewers yeast. ADD two tablespoons of yogurt to food aday.

I'd rather be hated for who i am than loved for who im not. An old shoshoni saying about loosing someone you love, MY HEART IS ON THE GROUND, NOW I MUST PICK IT UP AND MOVE ON
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post #43 of 295 (permalink) Old 01-15-2007, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Help needed with bloat

An interesting thing i learned from my vet in regards to Metoclaprimide....it works on the large intestine(where bloat occurs). Enzymes help in the small intestine, but the action starts at the large intestine. Metoclaprimde "primes" the large intestine to receive food and pass it to the small intestine quickly. I spoke with 2 pharmacists and both said the drug is not harmful considering what could happen if Thunder wasn't on the drug. It is given to newborn babies when they have digestive problems until they are about 5yrs old which is when they outgrow the problems. At 14yrs old let's face it, Thunder's "long term" is not that much longer (considering other problems he has). Metoclaprimide is our "safe guard" against bloat and i pray everyday that it does what it suppose to, which is to give the large intestine motility to pass the food to the small intestine.

Danica v Johnson-Haus; DOB 8/06/10
Thunder v Whispering Pines; R.I.P my boy (GSD)-4/93 - 6/07
Bear (Rottweiler) 4/93 - 6/07
Ruskie; (terrier mix) 8/88 - 5/01
Kiska; (Siberian Husky) 5/92 - 12/92
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post #44 of 295 (permalink) Old 01-16-2007, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Help needed with bloat

I found a website that i have posted to my refrigerator door (just in case). It list all the symptoms of bloat and also preventive measurement....
http://www.globalspan.net/bloat.htm

Danica v Johnson-Haus; DOB 8/06/10
Thunder v Whispering Pines; R.I.P my boy (GSD)-4/93 - 6/07
Bear (Rottweiler) 4/93 - 6/07
Ruskie; (terrier mix) 8/88 - 5/01
Kiska; (Siberian Husky) 5/92 - 12/92
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post #45 of 295 (permalink) Old 01-18-2007, 02:29 PM
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Re: Help needed with bloat

We bought Sam this feeding bowl called "Brake-Fast" it's a plastic food bowl with three prongs sticking up. He has to eat around the prongs to get to the food. It has slowed him down considerably that he can eat from a regular bowl without inhaling his food. Money well spent! They cost around $16.95

Sam - 7yr L/H GSD
Prue - 9yr mixed breed
Zippy - rat terrier 5 yrs
Diesel - GSD 2yrs
Hop-Sing 5yr lilac pt siamese
Phoebe - meezer and dog tormentor 9yrs
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post #46 of 295 (permalink) Old 01-19-2007, 05:13 PM
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Re: Help needed with bloat

I lost my two chows to bloat. Their stomachs were completely twisted by the time they arrived at the emergency clinic.

I know GSD is a high-risk breed to bloat. And because bloat happened to my two chows who were raised together (and therefore identically), I'm raising Griffin in a completely different way, meaning: no more commercial packaged food, and no rigorous exercise right before meal.

Some people blamed the preservatives / chemicals added to commerical packaged food are one of the contributing factors to bloat. So I decided to feed Griffin home-cooked food two times a day (which contains chicken, vegetables, and brown rice). He also gets digestive enzyme for each meal. No exercise (e.g. running) one hour before or after meal. I give him limited access to water at meal-time.


<font color="#9966CC">~ Bernice ~</font>

Griffin (GSD), DOB: 3/3/2006

<font color="#999999">Bert (Chow Chow), RIP: 2/19/2005
Wing (Chow Chow), RIP: 6/2/2005</font>
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post #47 of 295 (permalink) Old 01-20-2007, 09:12 AM
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Re: Help needed with bloat

Earlier this week I rushed one of my dogs into the emergency room for bloat. He woke us up at 4 groaning and fortunately we were able to get him to the vet right as they were opening up. They removed 1/3 of his stomach and the op went well and he seems to be recovering quite well.

Of course now I am very nervous of feeding. I have stopped feeding any treats to any of my other dogs (all gsds) I dont know how it happened though. I fed them canned along with dry - did I do wrong? They have had this combination many times. Did I feed them too much? How should I proceed with feedings now? He had the gastropexy done but Keifer if your dog also had that done and is still suffering with bloat how do you deal with that? Do you take him to the vet each time. Should I be giving gas-ex?

By the way I lost his father to bloat 8 months ago and one of his siblings died of bloat 2 years ago, it sounds like it may be genetic and one of his brothers seems to be exhiiting signs that it may happen to him too.
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post #48 of 295 (permalink) Old 01-22-2007, 05:35 PM
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Re: Help needed with bloat

i found these links and the following info while researching VWD for the paper i am doing on the disease that affects Bearla. i hope it helps any questions concerning this horrible disease

Is Nutrition A Factor?

I would like to take a look at the potential role diets can play in these diseases. I refer to these as two separate diseases because we can have bloat without torsion, as well as spleen torsion without any bloating or stomach torsion.
Of all my articles, this one is probably the most difficult to write because of the painful subject matter. The topic of bloat and/or torsion conjures up a multitude of feelings for any individual who has had first hand experience with these terrifying diseases. The feelings of frustration and helplessness are only compounded by the fact that there has been no new valid research information (Purdue Bloat Study),on the cause or prevention of these diseases.
The Purdue Bloat Study is very misleading to lay individuals because it presents itself as scientific research, when in fact it is only statistical research. The information at the Purdue website was not what we refer to, in academic communities, as peer evaluated, making it unsubstantiated information. The problem is the average dog owner does not know this and then believes the information put out on the internet as science and truth. For a further explanation of the validity of this research, read my article on the Purdue paper.
We have been told to watch the excessive consumption of water, particularly after exercise, and to soak food before feeding, which we now know is wrong because soaking actually destroy nutrients and actually cause fermentation (Blackwatch Feed Program). Then we have the controversy over the use of beet pulp (Beet Pulp Myth) as well as the concern regarding extruded versus pelletized foods.
Frankly, in the final analysis, I doubt any of these concerns have much to do with the cause and prevention of bloat and torsion. Therefore, I would like to offer another viewpoint for you to consider.
For the past 30 years research has been looking at these diseases, as well as other health issues, through old paradigms (models) and with no input from the professional breeders and their practical experience and knowledge. In spite of the thousands of dollars donated to the Morris Foundation, we are no further ahead in solving these problems and have no credible information. I believe there needs to be a dialogue between the research and professional breeders in order to solve the origin of this problem. Gathering data by university research people, after a dog has bloated, really does little in addressing the cause or prevention and thus calls for a more creative approach to solving these dreaded diseases.
It has been my ongoing personal investigation into nutritionally caused diseases that has led me to question our approach to bloat and torsion. It is important to understand what I am about to discuss is only my opinion, based on 33 years of experience in this breed, personal nutritional investigation and information on health issues shared by researchers, nutritionists and thousands of other breeders.

I believe there are things we can do nutritionally to narrow our chances of having bloat and torsion. I have found it very interesting to see a significant drop in the number of incidents of bloat and torsion over the past few years in my animals and animals of my friends and breeders across the country. Understand, I can not guarantee if you follow my feed program that you will never have a case of bloat, torsion or spleen torsion. There is no such thing as a guarantee, but I feel a good nutritional program is the foundation for better health.

I lost my first Dane to bloat/torsion 31 years ago and it changed my life and the way I view these dogs. I now realize they are extremely fragile and every day with us is a gift. I have learned to love the breed as a whole because of this fragility and not a day goes by that I don't think about bloat and torsion especially when I leave the house. My whole life's schedule is geared around my dogs and would not think of traveling to a dog show without a bloat kit. (To purchase a bloat kit call "The Farmacy" 1-800-733-4981.)
It has been my experience that the number of incidents of bloat-torsion have dropped dramatically over the past few years probably due to better quality meat based foods, and the incorporation of whole fresh foods, dietary enzymes and probiotics and digestive enzymes into the diet.
It is not news that most breeders and research people believe these diseases have multi-factorial causes and triggered by stress:

- stress, obvious or hidden signs
- physiological stress
- psychological stress
- genetic considerations
- environmental factors
I would like to list some other elements, seldom considered, that need to be addressed as potential factors in the cause of these diseases:
- Toxic Gut Syndrome and Leaky Gut Syndrome
- candida Albicans - yeast/fungus overgrowth
- pH balance - the effect when the pH balance is off - yeast-fungus-pathogens
- dietary influences - on pH balance of animals' electrical system
- dietary influences - overuse of vitamins/mineral
- dietary influences - inadequacies or missing nutrients, such as:
• probiotics - friendly bacteria
• digestive enzymes
• sulfur ( raw foods)
• micro-minerals
• antioxidant vitamins/minerals/enzymes
• dietary enzymes (raw foods)
It is my opinion the disease of bloat/torsion manifests itself when the animal is under stress due to many factors. Sometimes the stress is external and obvious and other times it is internal and goes unnoticed. Bloat and torsion may appear to be triggered by one event when in reality it is a condition that has been building due to a number of circumstances.
I believe the disease is multi-factored and is in response to a deterioration of a total system affected by environmental, dietary, psychological, physiological factors. These factors, singly or in combination, cause excessive wear on an animal's system, changes the pH balance and can encourage pathogenic bacteria and yeast fungus overgrowth in the gut causing bloat. It can alter the body's electrical and chemical balance which under the right conditions will cause gas buildup in the stomach which can lead to bloat and later torsion.
It is important to look at solving this problem from a holistic viewpoint. Instead of looking for a single cause for these diseases, like excessive water intake or the size of the animal's chest, we must understand the total picture. "The parts are not greater than the whole" and, therefore, everything has a tremendous impact on the animal's total well-being.

Stress and the Effect on Bloat and Torsion
Stress drastically affects the body chemistry of any living organism and it alters the pH balance of the system. I believe this is an important factor in the cause of bloat and torsion. There has certainly been enough scientific research done to prove when an organism responds in a negative way to stress. The results can be detrimental to one's health and well-being. Stress is not this "thing" out there lurking. Stress in itself does not exist.
Stress is the way the way in which an organism (you, me, the dogs) responds to certain situations or stimulus. Some of us and some dogs, due to genetics, body chemistry, nutrition and personality, seem to handle negative stress better than others. But as humans we can make a conscious choice as to how we are going to handle and reduce stress from our daily lives (exercise, diet, meditation, crying). But for our animals, this is an area seldom considered. Recognizing stress as a problem and altering their situation is determined only by how in tuned we are to their needs. Stress can effect the pH balance of an animal's system which in turn can set up an internal environment ideal for the fermentation of food and the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Exercise is important in the elimination of stress for humans as well as animals, and dogs that are kenneled and caged without adequate exercise for muscle/bone development as well as for psychological reasons (boredom and inertia) are primary candidates for these diseases. This is no different than when an individual retires, becomes inactive and succumbs to death far too early in life.
OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER:
Diet

As humans, we also have choices when it comes to our dietary needs. We attend to those cravings and fulfill our dietary needs, unlike the dogs who are relegated to a boring diet of processed dead foods day in and day out for their entire life. They seldom have access to a variety of foods in order to compensate for nutrients lacking in a diet - especially dietary enzymes (Nzymes), probiotics and digestive enzymes. The idea of feeding real foods either in part or whole has not been considered to have value except in the past 10 years.
Environment
We remove these animals from their natural environment, bring them into our homes as a family member and alter their life style to fit ours. (Yes, my grandma's dog loves to be covered up with my good down comforter.) These are some of the areas in which animals may respond in a stressful manner because of being subjected to certain conditions that are not really suited for four legged friends: sudden changes in diet after being fed the same thing daily; use and overuse of antibiotics; emotional trauma; psychological stress; ingestion of chemicals in food or water (chlorine, preservatives, nitrites, etc.); pollution; excessive noise; travel; boarding; breeding; showing; shipping; changes in environment; exposure to continual artificial light; disease; excessive inoculations; medications; loss/death or abandonment; and personal changes in their habits such as removal or changes in crates, toys, feeding stations, family upheaval and various other changes too numerous to mention. Some animals are able to handle stressful situations while others are not and I suspect the animal who is hypersensitive and internalizes stress is a primary candidate for bloat and torsion. If our animals are able to "work" or to "function" in a more natural way, and this means exercise and not being caged or kenneled the majority of their lives, this would help expend pent up energy and to manage stress.
Genetics

When we limit our gene pool to specific kennel names, bloodlines, color families as well as remaining within each specific breed, this prevents us from maintaining hybrid vigor. It maximizes our chances for doubling on negative traits with the increased potential for animals that are more sensitive to stimulus (light, sound, movement) and affect the total physiological system (body functions) and their psychological system (mental/behavioral functions).
Temperament

The reliable correct and stable temperament of our breed is something we must guard closely. Because breeders tend to breed for that "up" dog with an edge, we are also making an animal that is more prone to noise, light, movement sensitivity, dog aggressiveness and appetite problems in this breed. I believe it is imperative that we choose only temperamentally sound animals for breeding stock in order to increase our chances of producing generations of animals that are more stable, trainable, reliable, intelligent and above all flexible and able to handle stress. Younger breeders need to look at the whole picture and realize they may have to undo, for the sake of the breed, what breeders of my generation have done for the sake of the show ring.
Dietary Concerns

Diet and its effect on bloat and torsion is the main focus of this article. The processed commercial foods are an area I will continue to address as a cause for many of our current health problems. The commercial dog food industry is relatively young and has developed because of a financial need to utilize foods that are substandard for human consumption. The industry needs to take a closer look at the nutritional requirements, feeding habits and patterns of the dogs/cats in order to help eliminate some of our current food related health problems.
The research done by F. Pottenger, M.D. in his book "The Pottenger's Cats - A Study in Nutrition" is a fascinating look at a controlled study of cats fed raw versus cooked foods. This study detailed clinical and pathological findings in cats as well as humans which provided convincing evidence that processed foods are a modern day villain. The book includes several photos of animals and human dentition (teeth), showing the actual difference in those eating a modern processed diet to those of isolated cultures where whole raw foods are the natural diet. There are actual physical changes in jaw structure with teeth overlapping and decay present in individuals raised on modern processed diets.
I believe there is a direct correlation between the lack of whole, fresh, raw foods in our animals' diet and the problems of bloat, torsion, disease, short life span, fertility and numerous degenerative diseases. The vast majority of the problems we have been told are genetic are actually the result of feeding inadequate, incomplete, inferior grade, processed, fractionated, synthetic, hormone raised and pesticide ridden food stuffs to our animals and ourselves.
There are a handful of commercial dog food companies that are visionary and are working to add back to the diet those important missing components. I commend the Eagle, Wysong, Innova, Back2Basics, PHD, Precise to name a few, who have worked to incorporate some of these "life supporting" missing components into their products and pride themselves in working with professional breeders in the improvement of these feeds.
In my previous articles I have discussed in great detail the fact that heating and processing of food stuffs kills or alters the "living" elements normally found in fresh raw whole foods. Therefore, dog food companies spray vitamins, minerals and amino acids back onto the dog food after processing and before bagging.
Most of the vitamins and amino acids are synthetic and minerals are in such crude forms the animals cannot use them. (Example: milk and chalk are both calcium sources. Milk is a usable form derived from a whole food but chalk is a mined mineral and not a very usable form of calcium because it is not from a food). Then there is the even greater issue of getting each of these synthetic and mined nutrients from separate sources and mixing them together and thinking they will work together like they do when found in a natural state. Wrong! When we extract the part from the whole it is not the same. The following nutrients can be most critical in helping to prevent bloat and torsion and are often disregarded by the majority of nutritionists, veterinarians, physicians and of course dog food manufacturers.
• probiotics (friendly bacteria yogurt type cultures)
• digestive enzymes
• antioxidants vitamins (Vit C)
• sulfur - MSM
• dietary enzymes - Nzymes
• micronutrients (64 trace minerals)

Torsion: Could it be an Electrical Short Circuit?

Could torsion be the result of an electrical problem within the body? Let's consider this possibility. First of all, 95% of the body's activities are run by minerals. As you sit there reading this article, you exude 11 million kilowatt hours per pound (some of us more) and if they could harness us we could fuel a large industrial city for a week!
Minerals are what spark our body's electrons and they are absolutely critical in the diet because they affect the electrical impulses and the body chemistry. Did you get that? Minerals are what effect the electrical impulses and the body chemistry.
As owners, we are told to feed our animals the same processed, prepackaged food day in and day out. We have all seen the television ad from a large well known company that promotes this idea in selling their product. "Why, everything they will ever need is included in this one package." Of course, this short sighted theory assumes we all have the same dietary needs.
When an animal is not part of the food selection process and not allowed to hunt and scavenge, how can special dietary needs and cravings be addressed? The best example is the mineral and micronutrient issue, particularly the micronutrients. There have been no minimum or maximum determined for most of the minerals and micronutrients. Therefore, these components are simply "overlooked" or disregarded as being unimportant in a diet. However, it is these "essential" minerals and microminerals that are the nutrients necessary to run the body's electrical and chemical system! Although minerals were at one time abundant in our soil and transmitted into grains, fruits, grasses and vegetables, modern farming practices have depleted soils of these minerals. Herbicides, pesticides and mechanical leaching and intensive farming has leached minerals from the soil. We must then go to another source for high quality minerals, such as the cereal grasses and marine plants. Yes, kelp is good to use but is like a weed compared to seaweeds and blue green algae.
A Part of the Solution: Diet
In my previous article "Whole Food For Disease Prevention", I addressed the way in which I have incorporated whole food nutrients into the diet without significantly changing the protein/calorie content or disrupting the balance of the commercial food. I use the following products in small amounts to help accomplish this goal. It allows me to fill in the potential holes in the diet with a minimum of effort.
Nzymes - dietary enzyme that puts the living component back into the diet
4 in 1 Probiotics - probiotics, digestive enzymes, Vit C and barley grass
MSM - nutritional sulfur - for maintaining the body’s electrical system
Source - micronutrients - 64 trace elements from marine plants
Part of the Solution: Sulfur/Microminerals
update: Note, if you are using the joint supplement Flexicose or Liquid Health you do not need to supplement any more MSM, both products have ample amounts of MSM a part of the supplement.
I want to focus on the element of sulfur for a moment because I am astonished no one has looked at this potential connection to the problem of torsion. Sulfur is one of these critical nutrients yet is almost discounted by dog food companies, nutritionists and veterinarians. I believe nutritional sulfur, which can be obtained in a product called MSM, and the micronutrient minerals from marine plant, which can be obtained in a product called Source, may very well play an important role in the prevention of bloat and torsion.
There may be a possible connection between bloat and torsion and inadequate amounts of or an absence of sulfur and micronutrients in the processed canine diet. This one mineral, sulfur, is of such great importance in body electricity and chemistry that I feel it is an important piece to this whole picture. Most dog foods are low or absent in sulfur content in the nutritional assay and if they do put it back in the food it is in as an amino acid supplementation. This mineral is really given no importance in light of the whole health picture yet here is some information about sulfur you will find very interesting.
Sulfur is a mineral and has the same toxicity as water. There is practically no research done on sulfur and nothing is assigned as minimum or maximum requirements by nutritional standards. The National Research Council (NRC) and AFFCO does not even list it as a nutritional requirement for the dogs/cats. You will not find sulfur in the vitamins you purchase either. Sulfur is fragile and lost during heat and processing.

Sulfur is important for the following functions:
- electrical impulses
- overall body chemistry and balance
- tissue respiration
- regulating growth patterns
- protein and connective tissue (hips/elbows)
- developing collagen (hips/elbows)
- making bone
- metabolism
- fertility
Now if that isn't enough, where do you think sulfur is normally found in abundant quantities ... in raw meat! Yes, you heard me right, raw meat. Sulfur is found in protein containing foods and in eggs, green vegetables, cereal grasses (barley, wheat, rye, grasses), alfalfa and fresh grasses (like the ones they tend to graze on in the yard, crab grass and young ragweed leaves, seaweeds and algaes), all things missing from most commercial diets.
Another interesting fact, nutritional sulfur (MSM) is used in horses to correct epiphyiutis, their equivalent to H.O.D. in over-fed yearlings, as well as in spondolysis and nutritional wobblers. Previously I discussed my recent experience working with another breeder and using MSM on a young puppy with wobbler-like symptoms. They saw a considerable improvement in just a few days.
Example: It was explained to me that farm animals bloat when they consume a diet too rich in nitrogen in relation to the amount of sulfur in their diet. Grains/cereal products are high in nitrogen and ferment quickly and raw meats are high in sulfur.
Consider this:
- Is it possible the relationship of grains to meat in a diet or how they are prepared sets up a condition which may promote bloating?
- Why were the cases of bloat more frequent 10-15 years ago, when most of the foods were grain based?
I believe we see less bloat and torsion this past decade is because dog food companies are improving the foods by going to a meat-based food. The old-timers will remember one particular "yellow" grain based food, the one that went in "yellow" and came out "yellow", and seemed to sour and ferment within a matter of minutes if left standing with water on the food. The better companies also go to the added expense of using a Probiotics - Digestive Enzyme combination.

Part of the Solution: Probiotics/Digestive Enzymes
Probiotic (pro-life) are microorganisms and probiotics are the opposite of antibiotics (anti-life). Over time man and microbes have reached an intricate state of coexistence on this planet and on and in our bodies. In fact, all warm-blooded animals are profoundly dependent on the microbial world. Despite the inclination to regard microorganisms as the enemy, the essential truth is the majority of these "life forms" favor cohabitation and cooperation, not conflict. While some microorganisms (bacteria) are bad or "pathogenic bacteria", other microorganisms are considered good bacteria and play a very beneficial role in maintaining health, particularly in the digestive tract and by boosting the immune system. These good bacteria also inhibit bad bacteria growth and decreasing the amount of time necessary for recovery from disease. These good bacteria are called probiotics. These are some examples of common probiotics found to enhance health and nutrition.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus lactis
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Streptococcus faecium
I believe we will soon see a decrease in the excessive use of antibiotics which tend to be non-selective and kill both bad and good bacteria. Those of you who have had fever blisters, cold sores, diarrhea, or yeast infections after antibiotic therapy no doubt experienced this problem. Using probiotics simulatenously with antibiotics and continuing to use them for at least a week to ten days after you have run your course of antibiotics will help to reestablish the system with beneficial bacteria and can help prevent or lessen the time in which you have these negative effects from antibiotics. This is true in animals and a little extra added to the diet daily, over and above your normal dosage of the Daily Greens Plus, is very helpful in reestablishing the system.

One current example of this particular use of probiotics (good bacteria) in fighting pathogenic (bad) bacteria was that of the E. coli scare from the "Jack-in-the-box" food poisoning incident in California. Some of the individuals were given a very high powered "probiotic" in order to fight off the potential effects of the deadly bad bacteria found present in the contaminated meat.
(Probiotics) are often referred to by several names:
- good bacteria
- friendly bacteria
- yogurt type cultures
- good intestinal flora
Probiotics (good bacteria) should be ever present and in good balance within our system and in the digestive tract (humans and animals). But when an organic system responds in a negative way to stress, this can alter the pH balance of the body which can have a powerful negative effect by killing off good bacteria in the digestive tract which frequently leads to diarrhea. This negative change in a system can also set up an environment that promotes the growth of bad (pathogenic) bacteria.
Poor quality diet is another factor in the wearing down of a system. If an animal's digestive system has to work overtime processing foods it is very hard on the system plus the continuous feeding of poor quality, processed foods only adds to an overall breakdown in health and well-being.
The canine intestines are short and meant to process primarily meat. A cereal-based diet is more difficult to digest, takes longer to go through a system and tends to ferment quickly. This sets the stage for a condition which helps promote the growth of bad bacteria and may increase the risk of bloating. Hydrochloric acid is necessary for proper canine digestion but I have observed that dogs do not drool over cereal based foods like they do over meat-based or raw meat diets. I suspect this limited amount of hydrochloric acid being produced by the animal when fed cereal-based foods may also contribute to this build up of gases in bloat.
A couple good probiotic/digestive enzyme products are Filling N The Wholes (800-872-0074) or "4 in 1 Probiotics", for probiotics because it has numerous benefits in helping to minimize our chances of bloat. This probiotic/digestive enzyme plus vitamin C and vegetation in the form of cereal grasses are important to my animals because it:

- maintains good bacteria growth
- replaces good bacteria that is lost
- helps maintain the proper pH balance
- keeps pathogenic bacteria in check
- increases utilization of food/nutrients
- helps to boost the immune system
I keep on hand a variety of forms of probiotics. It comes in a paste which I use for new puppies or during emergencies. Because it is not necessary to keep the paste refrigerated, it can be carried in a grooming bag or purse for traveling and dog shows.s

Beet Pulp - Does it Have a Role in Bloat?
No, beet pulp has absolutely no connetion to bloat. Beet pulp is probably one of the most misunderstood and maligned ingredients in manufactured dog foods. Take the time to understand to understand the role of prebiotics and probiotics in the maintenance of the healthy body. If this is done, then one can begin to understand the role of beet pulp in a feeding program. This article speaks to misinformation that has perpetrated about beet pulp. This is not just theory on my part. The input is from scientists, medical and nutrition people who have studied in the area of prebiotics and probiotics. I will address villae clogging, use of fiber, and saponins. Please note that the positions held in the misinformation have not been proven scientifically. They are theories only.

1. Statement: Beet Pulp clogs the villae in the intestine. False

Beet pulp does not clog the villae in the intestine. This is a theory by an owner of a dog food company. There are no scientific studies which support this theory. There are several studies which show how beet pulp is beneficial in promoting a healthy digestive system. What can clog the villae? If villae are blocked, the prime cause is typically insufficient or total lack of a probiotic colony in the gut. (More on that later.) Another cause of villae clogging is bentonite, which is a fine clay which is used in some cheap dog foods.

2. Statement: Beet pulp is an indigestible fiber.

While this statement is true, the beet pulp is not in the food for nutritive value to the dog. It is not supposed to be digested by the dog. The beet pulp has two purposes. First, the beet pulp provides nutrition for the probiotics. (It is a prebiotic.) Having good food available encourages the colonization of probiotics. (Prebiotics, defined by Gibson and Roberfroid (1995) as "nondigestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon and thus improves host health," may include starches, dietary fibers, other non-absorbable sugars, sugar alcohols, andoligosaccharides.." (Gibson et al., 1996).
Gibson, G. and Roberfroid, M.B. 1995. Dietary modulation of the human colonic mibrobiota: Introducing the concept of prebiotics. J. Nutr. 125: 1401-1412. Gibson, G.R., Williams, A., Reading, S., and Collins, M.D. 1996.
Fermentation of non-digestible oligosaccharides by human colonic
bacteria. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 55: 899-912.

The second purpose is to provide bulk to the stool which allows it to move through the digestive tract. at a rate which assures maximum digestion and absorption of nutrients. Note: The probiotics cling to the wall of the intestine and dine. While they are there, the bad bacteria cannot gain a food hold. Of course, they won't be there if there is not a proper servings at the banquet table on which to feast.

3. Saponins in the beet pulp might be responsible for bloat. False.

In the paper, "Toxic Substances and Crop Plants" by the Royal Society of Chemistry states that "saponins at the levels fed in modern diets are not toxic but in fact exert a variety of health enhancing benefits, (*including providing fermentation for probiotic viability. )

From Dr. K. Kern
Wysong Corporation and Research Facility Jan 27, 1993 "The claims ...... that saponins cause bloat in is not documented by any reference to any scientific literature. It is simply conjecture and assertion and not fact" Saponins are found in over 100 plant families. These foods have been a part of the mammalian and human diet for thousands of years. Saponin-containing foods are also known to be of therapeutic and health enhancing benefits. . There is no documented proof that feeding a pet food with micro-amounts of saponins causes gastrointestinal paralysis and vomiting(bloat).
Below find information from documented scientific sources:

"Beet pulp has been found to be an ideal source of moderately fermentable fiber. Fiber sources such as cellulose, peanut hulls or soy bean hulls are poor sources because they are not very fermentable. The correct amount and type of fiber is necessary for a normal healthy digestive tract. There are bacteria in the normal healthy digestive track. These bacteria have the ability to ferment or digest certain types of fiber. The ideal fiber is on the is partially fermentable or digestible, i.e., beet pulp. We want some fiber left to provide that bulk to the stool that is necessary for a healthy digestive system, but we also want some of the fiber to be digested by the bacteria." 1

Beet pulp in a diet encourages colonization of those bacteria which best ferment or digest that form of fiber and discourage those organisms which do not effectively ferment fiber. It so happens that many good bacteria that commonly inhabit the large intestines can deal with beet pulp (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Enterococcus faecium are just two) and many pathogenic bacteria are not supported by its presence (Clostridium sp.,Salmonella sp. and e. coli) 2.

Because beet pulp is an ideal food source for these good bacteria, they tend to overgrow potentially bad bacteria (pathogens and gas producers) and make the gut much more resistant to these harmful organisms. As a result of this digestive or fermentation process, vital nutrients called short chain fatty acids are produced which provide superior nutrition to the cells lining the large intestine enhancing their ability to function. 4

These short chain fatty acids (SCFA) are the key to a healthy and efficient digestive tract. The cells that line the intestinal track feed voraciously on SCFA. These cells have a high turnover rate and rely on SCFA to provide adequate nutrition. 3
That portion of beet pulp left after the fermentation of bacterial digestive process promotes ideal nutrient digestibility. The volume of stool is not excessive thus allowing the motility of the gut to move the nutrients along at a rate which assures maximum digestion and absorption.

1. Buterwick, Maxwell. The effect of level and source of dietary fiber on food intake in the dog. Journal of Nutrition 1994 Vol. 124
2. Collins MD, Gibson Dr. Nutritional modulation of microbial ecology. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1998
3. Hallman JE, Moxley RA, et al. Cellulose, beet pulp and pectin/gum arabic effects on canine microstructure and histopathology. Veterinary Clinical Nutrition 1995;2:137-141
4. Albert S. Townshend DVM, Wellness for Life, Am Journal of Clinical Nutrition
1999

Part of the Solution: Antioxidants
I want to talk about the importance of antioxidants in the after care of torsion surgery. I cannot address the topic of surgery without discussing specific antioxidant enzymes and the remarkable results we have seen using these enzymes.
First some background on oxygen free radicals and their counterparts antioxidants. What do oxygen "free radicals" and car exhaust have in common? They are both toxic byproducts produced by the production of energy. Energy is necessary to make both the car and the human/animal body function. The fuels may be different, one is oxygen the other is gasoline, but the end result is the same. Both produce energy and both have a toxic waste byproduct from that energy production.
"Oxygen free radicals" (toxic byproducts) are the bad guys and antioxidants are the good guys because they move around the cells of the body and gobble up the free radicals. Think of these toxins as "body rust" and antioxidants are the rust inhibitors. Free radicals are what make us age and eventually die. So antioxidant enzyme supplementation can help by:
• aiding in the prevention of aging and diseases such as cancer and other debilitating illnesses
• reduces the negative effects of cancer therapies
• reduces the negative effects of anesthetics after surgery
• speeds repair of tissues and bone due to surgery/trauma
• boosts the immune system
• retards periodontal disease and the prevention of heart disease
• works on soft tissues and is great for reducing allergy problems. *Note: I no longer have hay fever because of this enzyme.
• flushing toxins from the system, chemicals, pesticides, etc.
• aids in reproductive problems, regulating cycles and problems with infertility and sterility (humans and animals)
The dietary consideration for the after surgery animal is the same as I have addressed previously in this article, particularly the use of "4 in 1 Prrobiotics and MSM-Nutritional Sulfur. They are a must. But I want to discuss an enzyme called Nzymes which is a remarkable antioxidant of particular interest to me regarding bloat and torsion because of its ability to:
• minimize the side effects and after effects of anesthetics
• speed healing of soft tissue
• reduce the inflammation and soreness of soft tissue
• prevent "reperfusion injury" after bloat and torsion surgery
"Reperfusion injury" is a condition whereby toxins, free radicals or oxygen byproducts are released into the system of the animal after surgery trauma and anesthetics which often causes death. According to a study done at Purdue University, the majority of dogs lost after torsion surgery die from perfusion injury due to this release of toxins in the body causing heart arrhythmia. Antioxidants enzymes, such as the Nzymes, is one way to help support the system in hopes of preventing "reperfusion injury". Even though torsion is an emergency surgery start the animal on this product as soon as possible right after surgery. This is not a drug but a food concentrate and will not conflict with any medication the animal is on at the time. During an emergency surgery of any kind the sooner you can start the animal on it the better. Also, for elective surgery such as ear cropping and potential vaccine reactions, we start puppies from weaning and leave them on the Nzymes until all inoculations are given to minimize our chances of vaccine reactions.
To order call 1-877-816-6500
Summary
It is my opinion, the disease of bloat and torsion manifests itself under stressful conditions. Sometimes the stress is external and obvious. Other times it may be triggered by one event, but it is my feeling the disease is multifactored in response, to a chronic deterioration of the total system, affected by environmental, physiological, dietary and psychological factors. These factors, singly or in combination, causes excessive wear on the animal's system, changing the pH balance and encourages fungus/yeast and/or pathogenic bacteria growth (bloat), and alters the body's electrical and chemical balance (torsion).
I do not claim to have the answers for these diseases, but I do not believe one has to be a rocket scientist to realize we must stop looking for one cause and be more sensitive to the whole animal, how it interacts within its environment and what nourishment we are putting into these living systems. We must replace our physical bodies with whatever material we choose to ingest in the form of food. If we choose junk foods and toxins then our bodies become junk and toxins and we soon fall prey to disease, debilitation and death. We truly are what we eat and the dogs are what we choose to feed them since they no longer have a choice in the selection of their own diets.
I honestly believe we can minimize our chances and even prevent most diseases, including bloat and torsion, as well as manage those who have already gone through the surgery and live without fear of reoccurrence. It is my sincere hope that you have as much luck with this program as we have had over the years. But understand, it is NO GUARANTEE, but for myself and other breeders it is a definite step in the right direction.




BLOAT: THE MOTHER OF ALL EMERGENCIES
There are many injuries and physical disorders which represent life-threatening emergencies. There is only one condition so drastic that it over shadows them all in terms of rapidity of consequences and effort in emergency treatment. This is the gastric dilatation and volvulus - the"bloat."
WHAT IS IT AND WHY IS IT SO SERIOUS?
The normal stomach sits high in the abdomen and contains a small amount of gas, some mucus, and any food being digested. It undergoes a normal rhythm of contraction, receiving food from the esophagus above, grinding the food, and meting the ground food out to the small intestine at its other end. Normally this proceeds uneventfully except for the occasional burp.
In the bloated stomach, gas and/or food stretches the stomach many times its normal size, causing tremendous abdominal pain. For reasons we do not fully understand, this grossly distended stomach has a tendency to rotate, thus twisting off not only its own blood supply but the only exit routes for the gas inside. Not only is this condition extremely painful but it is also rapidly life-threatening. A dog with a bloated, twisted stomach (more scientifically called "Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus") will die in pain in a matter of hours unless drastic steps are taken.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR DEVELOPING BLOAT?
Classically, this condition affects dog breeds which are said to be "deep chested," meaning the length of their chest from backbone to sternum is relatively long while the chest width from right to left is narrow. Examples of deep chested breeds would be the Great Dane, Greyhound, and the setter breeds. Still, any dog can bloat, even dachshunds and chihuahuas.
Dogs weighing more than 99 pounds
have an approximate 20% risk of bloat
Classically also, the dog had eaten a large meal and exercised heavily shortly thereafter. Still, we usually do not know why a given dog bloats on an individual basis. No specific diet or dietary ingredient has been proven to be associated with bloat. Some factors found to increase and decrease the risk of bloat are listed below:
Factors Increasing the Risk of Bloating
• Feeding only one meal a day

• Having closely related family members with a history of bloat

• Eating rapidly

• Being thin or underweight

• Fearful or anxious temperment

• History of aggression towards people or other dogs

• Male dogs are more likely to bloat than females

• Older dogs (7 - 12 years) were the highest risk group
Factors Decreasing the Risk of Bloat
• Inclusion of canned dog food in the diet

• Inclusion of table scraps in the diet

• Happy or easy-going temperment

• Eating 2 or more meals per day
In a study done by the Perdue University Research Group, headed by
Dr. Lawrence T. Glickman:

The Great Dane was the number one breed at risk for bloat

The St. Bernard was the #2 breed at risk for bloat

The Weimaraner was the #3 breed at risk for bloat
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR DOG HAS BLOATED
The dog may have an obviously distended stomach especially near the ribs but this is not always evident depending on the dog's body configuration.
The biggest clue is the vomiting: the pet appears highly nauseated and is retching but little is coming up.
If this is seen, rush your dog to the veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.
WHAT HAS TO BE DONE
There are several steps to saving a bloated dogs life. Part of the problem is that all steps should be done at the same time and as quickly as possible.
FIRST: THE STOMACH MUST BE DECOMPRESSED
The huge stomach is by now pressing on the major blood vessels carrying blood back to the heart. This stops normal circulation and sends the dog into shock. Making matters worse, the stomach tissue is dying because it is stretched too tightly to allow blood circulation through it. There can be no recovery until the stomach is untwisted and the gas released. A stomach tube and stomach pump are generally used for this but sometime surgery is needed to achieve stomach decompression.
ALSO FIRST: RAPID IV FLUIDS MUST BE GIVEN TO REVERSE THE SHOCK
Intravenous catheters are placed and life-giving fluid solutions are rushed in to replace the blood that cannot get past the bloated stomach to return to the heart. The intense pain associated with this disease causes the heart rate to race at such a high rate that heart failure will result. medication to resolve the pain is needed if the patient’s heart rate is to slow down. Medication for shock, antibiotics and electrolytes are all vital in stabilizing the patient.
ALSO FIRST: THE HEART RHYTHM IS ASSESSED AND STABILIZED
There is a special very dangerous rhythm problem, called a "premature ventricular contraction" or "pvc," associated with bloat and it must be ruled out. If it is present, intravenous medications are needed to stabilize the rhythm. Since this rhythm problem may not be evident until even the next day continual EKG monitoring may be necessary. Disturbed heart rhythm already present at the beginning of treatment is associated with a 38% mortality rate.
Getting the bloated dog's stomach decompressed and reversing the shock is an adventure in itself but the work is not yet half finished.
SURGERY
All bloated dogs, once stable, should have surgery. Without surgery, the damage done inside cannot be assessed or repaired plus bloat may recur at any point, even within the next few hours and the above adventure must be repeated. Surgery, called gastrpexy, allows the stomach to be tacked into normal position so that it may never again twist. Without gastropexy, the recurrence rate of bloat may be as high as 75%!

Assessment of the internal damage is also very important to recovery. If there is a section of dying tissue on the stomach wall, this must be discovered and removed or the dog will die despite the heroics described above. Also, the spleen, which is located adjacent to the stomach may twist with the stomach. The spleen may require removal, too.
If the tissue damage is so bad that part of the stomach must be removed, the mortality rate jumps to 28 - 38%.
If the tissue damage is so bad that the spleen must be removed, the mortality rate is 32 - 38%.

After the expense and effort of the stomach decompression, it is tempting to forgo the further expense of surgery. However, consider that the next time your dog bloats, you may not be there to catch it in time and, according the study described below, without surgery there is a 24% mortality rate and a 76% chance of re-bloating at some point. The best choice is to finish the treatment that has been started and have the abdomen explored. If the stomach can be surgically tacked into place, recurrence rate drops to 6%.
RESULTS OF A STATISTICAL STUDY
In 1993, a statistical study involving 134 dogs with gastric dilatation and volvulus was conducted by the School of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover, Germany.
Out of 134 dogs that came into the hospital with this condtion:
• 10% died or were euthanized prior to surgery (factors involved included expense of treatment, severity/advancement of disease etc.)

• 33 dogs were treated with decompression and no surgery. Of these dogs, 8 (24%) died or were euthanized within the next 48 hours due to poor response to treatment. (Six of these 8 had actually re-bloated).

• Of the dogs that did not have surgical treatment but did survive to go home, 76% had another episode of gastric dilatation and volvulus eventually.

• 88 dogs were treated with both decompression and surgery. Of these dogs, 10% (9 dogs) died in surgery, 18% (16 dogs) died in the week after surgery, 71.5% (63 dogs) went home in good condition. Of the dogs that went home in good condition, 6% (4 dogs) had a second episode of bloat later in life.

• In this study 66.4% of the bloated dogs were male and 33.6% were female. Most dogs were between ages 7 and 12 years old. The German Shepherd dog and the Boxer appeared to have a greater risk for bloating than did other breeds.
Meyer-Lindenberg A., Harder A., Fehr M., Luerssen D., Brunnberg L. Treatment of gastric dilatation-volvulus and a rapid method for prevention of relapse in dogs: 134 cases (1988-1991) Journal of the AVMA, Vol 23, No 9, Nov 1 1993, 1301-1307.
In is crucially important that the owners of big dogs be aware of this condition and prepared for it. Know where to take your dog during overnight or Sunday hours for emergency care. Avoid exercising your dog after a large meal. Know what to watch for. Enjoy the special friendship a large dog provides but at the same time be aware of the large dog's special needs and concerns.
Emergency Treatment of Suspected GDV
The first thing to remember in any emergency situation is to remain calm, your dog's life will depend on your clear thinking and quick actions.
1. Whenever possible, call the hospital and warn them that you'll be bringing in a bloat case so that they can save precious time by making the necessary preparations while you're on your way. Be sure to indicate your approximate arrival time because some clinics close at set hours regardless of your situation.
2. If you're not close to the hospital (or if someone else can drive), and your dog's stomach is distended, you may want to initiate emergency first aid by gently passing a well-lubricated tube to decompress the stomach (see EMERGENCY FIRST AID FOR BLOAT section). If you do not have a tube readily available, some people have reported success with the use of a garden hose (with the ends cut off), lubricated with water. Always pass a tube down slowly and gently--push it down an inch or so at a time, and only after the dog has swallowed, without gagging, the section you have already pushed in. NEVER force a tube down--you can do severe damage to the internal organs! If tube passage is unsuccessful due to internal obstruction, then it means the stomach has probably twisted. Get to the hospital as quickly as possible.
3. It is important that the veterinarian first treat the dog for shock with intravenous fluid and drug therapy. The veterinarian may also start a continuous electrocardiogram (EKG) to monitor cardiac functions.
4. Generally, the initial goals of emergency veterinary treatment of GDV are to decompress the stomach and to restore and support the dog's blood circulation. If the stomach is twisted, the veterinarian may have to determine the location of the stomach and cut an opening into the stomach through the side of the body to release the gas.
5. The second step is to determine (by X-rays either before or after decompression) whether simple dilation (bloat) or GDV (bloat with torsion) has occurred. This is very important because simple dilation can often be managed without emergency surgery, but if the stomach has twisted, emergency surgery may be required to reposition the stomach.

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Physiological Changes Caused by GDV
GDV results in physiological changes that create a medical and surgical emergency. Changes are both localized (limited to the organs involved, i.e. the stomach and the spleen) and systemic (affecting other vital organs in the body). Increased pressure inside the stomach causes blood flow there to slow and eventually stop. Severe torsion can tear the short branches of the artery between the spleen and the stomach, thus increasing the potential for necrosis (death of cells) of the stomach wall. Displacement of the spleen can cause blood clots in the blood vessels there or even torsion of the spleen. Obstruction of blood flow from these abdominal organs to the heart causes systemic changes. The rapid and often massive reduction of blood returning to the heart reduces cardiac output and therefore deprives tissues of sufficient nutrients and oxygen. Furthermore, the abdominal organs become engorged with blood, which makes the intestines more permeable to the bacteria and bacterial products within them, thus releasing bacteria and their toxic substances (endotoxin) into the bloodstream. The reduced blood flow to the heart, coupled with the circulation of substances released from the pancreas, spleen and other organs severely impair cardiac functions, and cause cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats). Blood flow to the kidneys falls which increases the risk of acute kidney damage. A condition called Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC, a life threatening bleeding disorder of the blood clotting mechanism) may occur. Finally, the stomach and/or intestines may perforate, resulting in the contamination of the abdominal cavity with stomach contents and bacteria. A combination of septic, endotoxic and hypovolemic (abnormally low blood circulation) shocks; septic peritonitis (acute and painful inflammation of the membranes lining the abdominal and organ walls); and DIC (bleeding disorder) with multiple organ failures; results in death within hours of the initial signs of bloat.

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Surgery for GDV
The immediate aim of surgery is to return the stomach to its normal position and to evaluate it and the spleen for signs of irreversible damage (such as tissue necrosis--cell death). Long-standing or severe twisting may occasionally cause necrosis in portions of the esophagus (the food canal down the throat)--if so, chances for survival is poor. If gastric perforation at any site (perforation of the organ wall) has occurred, then the chances for survival is extremely poor, and euthanasia should be seriously contemplated. Barring any sign of irreversible damage, the veterinarian should perform gastropexy (attaching a flap of stomach wall to an acceptable part of the abdomen in order to help keep the stomach from twisting in the future.) There are a number of techniques of gastropexy, and debate continues as to which method is more effective. The fact that there is still heated debate in the techniques indicates that none is currently totally satisfactory. Again, you may want to discuss it with your veterinarian before there is an emergency. We will briefly describe a few of the more popular techniques :Tube gastropexy - A large balloon catheter is used to secure the stomach to the right abdominal wall. The catheter creates strong adhesions (fibrous scar tissues formed by the body that join normally unconnected parts). The tube must remain in place for 7 to 10 days following surgery. The presence of the tube allows access to decompress the stomach if bloat recurs during the first 10 days. It also permits tube feeding if the dog refuses to eat for more than a couple of days after surgery. Tube gastropexy is the easiest and faster gastropexy technique, and is often used in extremely weak dogs who may not survive an extended period of being anesthetized. The main argument against this technique is that it may not help keep the stomach in place as well as some other gastropexy techniques. The most common complications of tube gastropexy are premature tube loosening and inflammation of the skin where the tube exits the abdomen. Skin inflammation is usually caused by leakage of gastric contents around the tube. Occasionally, the balloon of the catheter becomes eroded by the acidic gastric fluid, causing the tube to dislodge early. This usually happens after 5 to 7 days as the dog becomes more active. Typically, no further treatment is required. However, if the tube dislodges during the first 48 hours, it may be necessary to replace the tube to prevent the risk of contamination of the abdomen with gastric juice. Belt-loop gastropexy - A flap of the stomach wall is used to attach the stomach to the right abdominal wall by braiding the stomach flap to strands of the abdominal wall. This technique takes longer than the tube technique, but may create a stronger bond. However, argument against it is similar to that of the tube's--it may not help keep the stomach in place as well as some other gastropexy techniques. Circumcostal gastropexy - A flap of the stomach wall is used to attach the stomach to the last rib on the right side. The argument in favor of this technique is that the rib is a more rigid and stable part of the anatomy, and will likely keep the stomach in place better than the abdominal wall will. There is a 5% chance of recurrence following gastropexy. Most of the recurrences are simple dilation (bloat without torsion), and respond well to decompression (passing of stomach tube). However, a full blown recurrence of GDV may cause or follow the breakdown of the gastropexy. Therefore, medical and dietary management after GDV is important to help prevent recurrence. In addition to gastropexy, some veterinarians perform pyloroplasty to help prevent recurrence of GDV. pyloroplasty is an operation in which the pylorus (the outlet from the stomach) is widened to ensure the free passage of food into the intestine. In clinical studies, researchers reported a much higher number of complications, during the first week after surgery, in dogs that underwent this procedure as compared to dogs that underwent gastropexy alone.

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Post-Surgery Care and Common Complications
Some dogs may continue to have poor circulation and therefore shock despite receiving large amounts of intra-venous fluids. Some dogs may become anemic or hypoproteinemic (abnormally low protein in the blood), and may require blood transfusion or plasma administration. These dogs should be reevaluated frequently by the veterinarian. Cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) is common following an acute episode of GDV. The veterinarian should perform frequent EKGs to monitor the heartbeat during the first week. In fact, continuous EKG monitoring for 48 to 72 hours is required in acute cases. Anti-arrhythmic drugs may be necessary to treat this condition. Gastric necrosis (cell death) and perforation can occur up to a week after surgery, especially if resection (surgical removal of part or all of a diseased organ) was performed. The veterinarian must monitor the stomach fluids closely both during surgery and during the first 5 days after surgery :
1. A pale green to gray fluid indicates arterial (blood vessel) damage caused by ischemic (insufficient blood supply to an organ) or necrotic (dead cells) regions which will require resectioning (surgical removal of part of the organ).
2. A black or blue/black fluid suggest venous occlusion (blockage in the veins that carry blood back to the heart) and intramural hemorrhage (internal bleeding within the organ). Some of these lesions are not reversible.
3. Areas with compromised blood supply but do not require resection are dark red.
4. Researchers also recommend that color be reevaluated 10 to 15 minutes after repositioning and decompression of the stomach, before completing the surgery.
If gastric necrosis and perforation occurs, euthanasia should be seriously considered. Food and water is typically withheld for the first 48 to 72 hours after gastropexy (bloat surgery), then multiple small meals are fed. Once the dog returns home, he/she should be fed smaller-than-usual portions of bland food frequently (3 times daily), and should not be exercised within 2 hours after meals. Veterinary attention should be sought immediately if there are signs of recurrence.

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Prevention
There are no sure-fire ways to prevent or predict GDV. Here is a list of suggestions :
1. Feed 2 or 3 smaller meals daily (as opposed to 1 large meal).
2. Any changes in the diet should be made gradually, over a period of a week.
3. Vigorous exercise, excitement and stress should be avoided from 1 hour before to 2 hours after meals.
4. Excessive drinking should also be avoided.
5. Avoid feeding food that are known to cause flatulence (gas), e.g. soy, beans, peas, onions, beet pulp, etc.
6. Some veterinarians advocate the feeding of large pieces of fresh/raw fruits and vegetables (e.g. apples, oranges, carrots) 3 to 4 times a week. The reason is that commercial dog food lacks the appropriate amount of roughage that a dog needs in order for the stomach to function properly.
7. Some people give their dogs over-the-counter anti-flatulent (Simethecone products, such as Gas Xฎ), just before or after they put their dogs through stressful situations. It may also be handy when the dog appears to have a lot of gas. Simethecone works by breaking down the surface tensions of the small air bubbles in the stomach, thus causing bigger bubbles to form, which theoretically, are easier for the stomach to pass.
8. On dogs known to be highly susceptible to GDV (e.g. ones that have already bloated before) discuss the use of medicinal prevention (such as Metoclopramide Hydrochloride, or Reglanฎ) with your veterinarian. The medicine is widely used in human after abdominal surgery to combat painful intestinal flatulence. It chemically decompresses the stomach and intestines, thus forcing the gas out. Like all drugs, there are side effects, so the benefits and problems of long term use should be carefully weighed and discussed with your veterinarian.

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REFERENCES
• __________, "Gastric Dilation-Volvulus in Dogs", Morris Animal Foundation, pp 11-12, 1987.
• Brockman D.J., BVSc, CVR, CSAO, MRCVS, "Gastric Dilation-Volvulus Syndrome in the Dog", Pedigree Breeder Forum, Vol 3 # 3, 19-23, 1994.
• Greenfield C.L. et al., Small Animal Clin Sci, Michigan State Univ. "Significance of the Heineke-Mikulicz Pyloroplasty in the Treatment of Gastric Dilation-Volvulus", Vet Surgery 18:22-26, 1989.
• Hall J.A., College of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University, "Gastric Dilation-Volvulus is Associated With Altered Gastric Electro-Electromechanical Activity", Proc Ann ACVIM Forum, 1990.
• Lieb M.S. et al., College Vet Med, Virginia Tech, "Suspected Chronic Gastric Volvulus in A Dog With Normal Gastric Emptying of Liquids", 191:699-700, 1987.
• Matthiesen D.T., Anim Med Center, New York, "Partial Gastrectomy as Treatment of Gastric Volvulus: Results in 30 Dogs", Vet Surg 14:185-193, 1985.
• Whitney W.O. et al., Westbury Animal Hospital, "Belt-Loop Gastropexy: Technique and Surgical Results in 20 Dogs", JAAHA 25:75-83, 1989
• Woolfson J.M. and Kostolich M., Sch Vet Med, Tufts Univ, "Circumcostal Gastropexy: Clinical Use of the Technique in Dogs With Gastric Dilation-Volvulus", JAAHA 22:825-830.

Picture of A Bloating 5-Year Old Male Standard Poodle
Source: D.J. Brockman, BVSc, CVR, CSAO, MRCVS
"Gastric Dilation-Volvulus Syndrome in the Dog",
Pedigree Breeder Forum, Vol. 3 # 3, 19-23, 1994. In case you should wonder what a bloating dog looks like, the picture shows a bloating 5-year old Standard Poodle. Notice:
• The dog looks like he is pregnant.
• He has already been started on IV fluids.
• Other than panting, the dog does not appear distressed.
This is a point you should remember -- dogs are stoic and have very high pain tolerance. Sometimes they don't show distress until they're in critical conditions. Therefore as a watchful owner, you must rely on subtle indicators such as changes in behavioral patterns to alert you to potential problems with your dog.


Bloat First Aid

Just the basics on this page.
1. Emergency First Aid for Bloat
2. The Emergency Kit
3. More Information About Bloat

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Emergency First Aid for Bloat
There is no substitute for prompt, competent veterinary attention! If you can realistically expect to receive veterinary treatment within 5 to 10 minutes, call the veterinarian and go--don't bother with first aid! On the other hand, if you think it'll take at least 20 minutes to get there, then the few minutes you spend administering first aid could make the difference between life or death. The ideal situation is to have someone else drive you to the clinic while you administer first aid. If you are having any problems with the technique, don't waste time trying to figure it out--get the dog to the hospital ! !

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Emergency First Aid
1. Stay Calm.
2. Call hospital and tell them you're coming with a bloat case. Give approximate arrival time.
3.
Take 1/2 inch tube and measure and mark the approximate length of tube you'll need to pass.
o Run the tube along the outside of your dog's body, tracing the contours of where the tube would go if you were passing it.
o Run the tube to just behind the last rib--that's where the stomach should be--mark the spot.
This will give you an idea as to whether the tube has successfully been passed into the stomach when you're actually doing it.

5.
Pry open dog's mouth and position wood block behind the canines and between the upper and lower jaws, so that the 3/4 inch hole is facing you when you're standing in front of the dog's face. The dog will struggle, but you must keep the block in position.

7.
Use the nylon cord to tie the block to the dog's lower jaw. Be sure the block is tied firmly in place.

8. Lightly lubricate about 3 inches of the outside of the vinyl tube (the end that you'll be passing).
9. Turn the tube so any natural curl in the hose is downward. Slide the lubricated tube through the wood block towards the dog's throat, in a slightly downward direction.
10.
Once the tube gets to the throat, push gently but firmly, about an inch at a time. Let the dog swallow what you've passed before pushing more in. The first resistance point you'll feel is the esophagus. If t

I'd rather be hated for who i am than loved for who im not. An old shoshoni saying about loosing someone you love, MY HEART IS ON THE GROUND, NOW I MUST PICK IT UP AND MOVE ON
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post #49 of 295 (permalink) Old 02-12-2007, 09:27 AM
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Re: Help needed with bloat

Thank you, I found this very intersting and helpful. My dog is doing remarkably well considering what he went through. I think I am very luck that he is still with me. I am still in a quandry about how much to feed him at any one time. I try to do 3 to 5 times aday. I have started giving him meat rolls, canned food and just a little kibble (when he will eat it - he is spoiled on the wet foods) I just dont really know how much is enough.

Should you mix canned food in with kibble? Feed it separately?
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post #50 of 295 (permalink) Old 02-20-2007, 04:16 PM
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Re: Help needed with bloat

My dog bloated at 2 years old, full blown stomach twist all because of mixing water and exercise. He did survive a gastropexy and it was a long recovery, but I have to be extra cautious/paranoid now and I don't mind if it will save his life. My vet said even though his stomach is tacked, he can still bloat which can be deadly even without the twisting/torsion of the stomach.Here are a few things my veterinarian told me to do and not to do:

1. Never, ever again feed the dog a large meal My dog is finiky about food and use to only eat late at night even though he had food available all day. Too much food at once can trigger the bloat, and from there the stomach can twist...I feed 2 cups max at a time and have him eat 2 times a day. I will give a cup late at night if he still seems hungry.

2. Never exercise the dog before or after a meal . A leisure walk is ok, but no running, jumping, rough, or strenous exercise, not even fetch. My dog eats at 8am, he gets a leisure stroll at lunch, and no hard activity until 5:30 at night. Once he comes in to eat at 8-9 pm, he doesn't get any more exercise until the following day at lunch. It had been 5 hours since a feeding when my dog bloated, so I wait an extrememly long amount of time...like I said, PARANOID.

3. Never let the dog drink lots of water at once . If you don't let him/her get overheated then this should be simple. My dog is so high drive that I have to force him to rest to prevent him from getting too hot and thirsty.

4. Know your dog well. Be able to determine anything unusal such as anxiousness, trying to vomit but can't, inability to get comfortable, etc. My dog had all of these symptoms, but he also seemed like he was in an instant panic the second sypmtoms started. It only took about 3 minutes before the distention in his stomach was appearant. Thank goodness I knew what was happening and got him the the ER vet within 15 minutes. Time is always crucial in this case.

The night my dog went through this was so traumatic I could right you a book on bloat/torsion. The emergency vet almost killed him, did not operate and sent me off to "find someone" early that morning. My regular vet had to wait 2 weeks before he could do the gastropexy because his bowels had been punctured by the ER vet and the risk of infection was too high. My vet told me that his stomach could twist again in his sleep at that point, so I had to watch him 24/7. Thank God he is a strong willed guy.

I do agree with a few things I read above, and one is to get a bloat kit and learn from a vet how to use it. Second, I would definately consider a preventative gastropexy. My dog had no known bloaters in is pedigree and he still did it.

Also, there are obviously hundreds of conflicting ideas on bloat...why, breed, age, type of food, etc. One thing I know to be untrue is that it is not more common in older dogs. Mine was 2, and one of the rescue pups was only 5 months and he unfortunately did not make it.

Hope some of this helps.

scrunk


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