Ironically, I'm participating in a thread on a horse forum where an owner is wondering what to do with her dog who's apparently showing possible bloat symptoms (unproductive vomiting, no elimination, refusing food, restlessness, etc). She took the dog to the vet earlier today, where the vet diagnosed the "early stages of bloat," but did not take x-rays. We ALL told her to go to the ER vet ASAP and get x-rays to find out what's going on.
Frankly, unless the dog is in extremis
, I don't know how anyone could diagnose this without x-rays, "early stages" or not --- whatever that might actually mean. So, IME, x-rays are critical to distinguishing between a bad bellyache and the [I]life-threatening emergency that is GDV and/or splenic torsion. (Note that splenic torsion can occur with or without a buildup of gas in the stomach).
I too have heard the suggestion that owners familiarize themselves with what a dog’s full stomach feels and looks like as a way to possibly recognize GDV. Here’s the problem that I have with that approach: A dog with a belly full of food looks/feels nothing like the distention that you see in dogs on the verge of crashing from GDV. What you’re looking for (but hope never to see) is the kind of stomach distention that’s not uncommon among starving children. But, by the time you see that, it may be too late.
Much better, I believe, for owners of all breeds to familiarize themselves with the symptoms of gastric dilatation volvulvus (GDV) so that they can intervene in a more timely fashion. Much as Wolfydog did. GDV and splenic torsion are more common in large, deep-chested breeds like GSDs and Danes, for example, but they're not limited to those breed types.
Here are some articles with good descriptions:
Gastic Dilatation and Volvulvus
Causes, Signs and Symptoms of Bloat
Five Warning Signs of Bloat: https://www.vetbabble.com/dogs/healt...ave-dogs-life/