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So I'm scared of bloat. Like, really scared of it. I do what I can to prevent it if possible, like feeding Willow two smaller meals per day instead of one big one, limiting exercise before and after meals, trying to keep her from gulping water after a big exercise/play session. I realize there's research out there that shows that some dogs are just genetically prone to it and there's nothing you can do about it, but all the same, I'm kinda doing whatever I can to prevent it.

Anyway, I know they say that deep-chested dogs are more prone to it than others. Willow is a working line, straight-backed GSD, and honestly when I look at her I just don't see a deep chest. I see pics of other GSDs, particularly show lines or larger males, and I see it. Maybe I just don't understand deep-chestedness. But there are two boxers that play with Willow in the park sometimes and one of them has a MONDO chest, he looks like a friggin keel of a ship.

So, I was curious if anyone out there has noticed an increased or decreased propensity to bloat with the various lines of GSDs. And maybe if anyone can explain deep-chestedness to me! I've attached a couple pics of Willow, I don't have a ton of pics that show her profile....
 

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I don’t think the lines make a difference. I lost my girl almost 3 weeks ago to bloat. I fed twice a day, no exercise before or after eating, no drinking a bunch of water at one time. It came out of the blue. Though deep chested dogs seem to be more prone, any dog can bloat.
 

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I don’t think the lines make a difference. I lost my girl almost 3 weeks ago to bloat. I fed twice a day, no exercise before or after eating, no drinking a bunch of water at one time. It came out of the blue. Though deep chested dogs seem to be more prone, any dog can bloat.
Ugh. Yeah that's why I'm so scared of it, seems like it just happens and you can't do anything about it. And I live an hour from the nearest emergency vet so I'm extra scared. I'm sorry for your loss. :-( So yeah I guess this post is kind of me trying to hedge my bets, find any excuse to believe Willow won't bloat. Which is maybe a fool's errand but hey, we worry-warts gotta save our sanity somehow.
 

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Unfortunately, I've talked to people with both working and show lines who have had a lot of bloat in their dogs / familial lines. Some of the European studies on bloat in GSD's focus around working lines used in police forces etc., so clearly bloat does occur within those lines. Although (some) working lines are sleeker built, I don't think there is any evidence that one line is 'safe', or objectively 'safer' than others. In my knowledge there isn't really any studies that specifically look at this.

I worry a lot too. I considered a preventative stomach tack for my female, but I actually decided against it (she was spayed a couple weeks ago). It's a hard decision, but that's really the only thing you can do to prevent it. I don't believe that lifestyle changes are going to make much of an impact on a dog with a predisposition to bloat.
 

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I don't think Willow is a working line. There's nothing about her that says "working line" to me. So I wouldn't try to judge illnesses based on that. There are studies currently ongoing. They found a correlation in Great Danes with a gene that prevents them from producing good bacteria in the gut. They found something similar things in German Shepherds. Those of us that have dogs involved in that study received one update but it's been a very long time since then. Knowing that, I give my dogs probiotics daily to ensure the bacteria required is there.
 

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I don't think Willow is a working line. There's nothing about her that says "working line" to me. So I wouldn't try to judge illnesses based on that. There are studies currently ongoing. They found a correlation in Great Danes with a gene that prevents them from producing good bacteria in the gut. They found something similar things in German Shepherds. Those of us that have dogs involved in that study received one update but it's been a very long time since then. Knowing that, I give my dogs probiotics daily to ensure the bacteria required is there.
Maybe it's just my ignorance of the various lines, but I guess I always equated working line with straight-back. Willow does not have the sloped back, which I always associate with show lines. And yeah, I was told she was 100% purebred working line GSD when I adopted her; of course that could have been BS, and some people are convinced she's a GSD-malinois mix when they see her, and I'm not going to spend money on the Embark thing because honestly I don't care that much. :)
 

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You just hope it doesn’t happen, but stop worrying about it. The emergency vet is about 15 minutes from my house, but the day Carly bloated we had a sleet/snow storm. I had to thaw my car out, and then drive carefully on the slippery roads to the clinic. It took longer than it normally would. Her stomach had already twisted and I lost her.

Yeah I get nervous when I hear Scarlet burp, but I can’t hover over her. Just carry on.
 

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There is no such thing as "straight back". It's just a marketing gimmick by back yard breeders. GSDs are supposed to have angulation in their structure. Not the roached back that west german showlines have but still angulation. Both working line with slightly different structure.
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Willow is probably a mish mash of lines. Working lines are typically blanket backed, sable, black or bicolor but not the masked tan like Willow. There was a study that showed back yard bred dogs were genetically closer to working line than show lines. I actually would guess GSD/Mal mix by looking at her. But I think that's irrelevant to your question. Larger dogs are more prone to bloat. GSDs, Goldens, Labs, Danes. The theory with the deeper chested dogs is similar to horses. They just simply have more room to torsion. Age also plays a factor. They really don't know what causes it other than the correlation with gut bacteria above.
 

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There is no such thing as "straight back". It's just a marketing gimmick by back yard breeders. GSDs are supposed to have angulation in their structure. Not the roached back that showlines have but still angulation. Both working line with slightly different structure.
View attachment 557704
View attachment 557705

Willow is probably a mish mash of lines. Working lines are typically blanket backed, sable, black or bicolor but not the masked tan like Willow. There was a study that showed back yard bred dogs were genetically closer to working line than show lines. I actually would guess GSD/Mal mix by looking at her. But I think that's irrelevant to your question. Larger dogs are more prone to bloat. GSDs, Goldens, Labs, Danes. The theory with the deeper chested dogs is similar to horses. They just simply have more room to torsion. Age also plays a factor. They really don't know what causes it other than the correlation with gut bacteria above.
Off topic, but I wish I could get a good stacked picture of mine. Very similar looking to faren in structure at the time.


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What brand/kind of probiotics do you give?

I don't think Willow is a working line. There's nothing about her that says "working line" to me. So I wouldn't try to judge illnesses based on that. There are studies currently ongoing. They found a correlation in Great Danes with a gene that prevents them from producing good bacteria in the gut. They found something similar things in German Shepherds. Those of us that have dogs involved in that study received one update but it's been a very long time since then. Knowing that, I give my dogs probiotics daily to ensure the bacteria required is there.
 

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I don't think Willow is a working line. There's nothing about her that says "working line" to me. So I wouldn't try to judge illnesses based on that. There are studies currently ongoing. They found a correlation in Great Danes with a gene that prevents them from producing good bacteria in the gut. They found something similar things in German Shepherds. Those of us that have dogs involved in that study received one update but it's been a very long time since then. Knowing that, I give my dogs probiotics daily to ensure the bacteria required is there.
Interesting....gonna have to restock probios. I think my boy would qualify as deep chested.
 

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There used to be a good website called eat poo and live. If you google you can find similar information out there. Much research has been done about eating encapsulated poo or even inserting a wash of fresh poo to restore or maintain a compromised gut. Don't be in such a panic if your dog eats another animal's poo, it just might be nature's way of restoring an imbalance.
 

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There used to be a good website called eat poo and live. If you google you can find similar information out there. Much research has been done about eating encapsulated poo or even inserting a wash of fresh poo to restore or maintain a compromised gut. Don't be in such a panic if your dog eats another animal's poo, it just might be nature's way of restoring an imbalance.
Gross, but true. Fecal transplants are used in humans as well


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I usually buy Probios for the dogs. The cats get Tummy Works, and Russ gets a product by Ramard (at Tractor Supply).



 

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Here is a study that covers some of these findings (not sure if it's directly connected to the same study Jax08 mentioned or not), pretty interesting read!

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5995382/

Really though, despite the gut microbiome being a powerful force in health, and much research being done; utilizing probiotics and fecal transplants is still at very limited and initial stages in human medicine (let alone animal medicine). Probiotics and fecal transplants can potentially do as much to imbalance the gut, as to balance it, so I would be hesitant in regards to over the counter probiotics being objectively helpful.
 

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i stand with the idea that there is a very strong genetic component... things outside of our control.

i work for an organization that has its own breeding program.... at any given time we have a couple hundred dogs in training and a couple thousand dogs working in the field (labs & goldens).... our instances of bloat are extremely rare. i’m sure there are more but in the 8+ years that i’ve been there, i only know of 2 cases. we feed the training dogs in the AM and free play can happen as soon as 5 minutes after breakfast, first workouts can be as soon as 30-45 minutes later. PM workouts can be as little as 30 (avg) minutes before dinner and they also may have the opportunity again for free play 5 minutes after. they have free access to water from a raised bowl, food is fed ground level. sizes range from 19” to 26”, 45-85lbs.

do what you want with that info, but it helps me sleep at night.
 

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i stand with the idea that there is a very strong genetic component... things outside of our control.

i work for an organization that has its own breeding program.... at any given time we have a couple hundred dogs in training and a couple thousand dogs working in the field (labs & goldens).... our instances of bloat are extremely rare. i’m sure there are more but in the 8+ years that i’ve been there, i only know of 2 cases. we feed the training dogs in the AM and free play can happen as soon as 5 minutes after breakfast, first workouts can be as soon as 30-45 minutes later. PM workouts can be as little as 30 (avg) minutes before dinner and they also may have the opportunity again for free play 5 minutes after. they have free access to water from a raised bowl, food is fed ground level. sizes range from 19” to 26”, 45-85lbs.

do what you want with that info, but it helps me sleep at night.
Am I correct in assuming that most of these dogs are neutered? With that assumption in mind, would I be correct that these dogs are not kept as ribby as many prefer their GSDs? Studies have linked leanness to bloat.
 

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i stand with the idea that there is a very strong genetic component... things outside of our control.

i work for an organization that has its own breeding program.... at any given time we have a couple hundred dogs in training and a couple thousand dogs working in the field (labs & goldens).... our instances of bloat are extremely rare. i’m sure there are more but in the 8+ years that i’ve been there, i only know of 2 cases. we feed the training dogs in the AM and free play can happen as soon as 5 minutes after breakfast, first workouts can be as soon as 30-45 minutes later. PM workouts can be as little as 30 (avg) minutes before dinner and they also may have the opportunity again for free play 5 minutes after. they have free access to water from a raised bowl, food is fed ground level. sizes range from 19” to 26”, 45-85lbs.

do what you want with that info, but it helps me sleep at night.
Do you work at GDB? I watched that Disney + show...:)

The trainer I'm working with worked with GDB somewhere out east that trains German shepherds. Sometimes I wish I could quit my job and go work for them haha...
 
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