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Discussion Starter #1
We are talking about bloat here https://www.germanshepherds.com/for...-inexperienced-pedigrees-needing-opinion.html but rather than take the OP’s thread too far off topic, may we please talk about bloat prevention here? If you have successfully treated a dog with bloat, what did you do to prevent reoccurrence. What chances did you make after surgery. My dog had an episode with a successful surgery. He is young, he did not have any of the risk factors associated with it other than structure and diet. I feed him dry kibble. He is a Vito progeny. Tacking can keep the stomach from twisting, but tacks can break looses, so the best prevention is to keep it from happening at all. I am looking for a good probitiotic that I can buy fresh in a local store, and so far have not found one. I don’t feed raw because my dog is allergic to chicken. I am hoping we can start a dialogue that will help others to avoid what we went through. At the same time, if it’s genetic, there is no way to avoid that aspect. I have owned many German Shepherds, but have had two males with bloat recently. The only thing they had in common was eating dry kibble. Otherwise, the first was an oversized rescue and we think had an underlying disease, bloat was secondary. He was 13.
 

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I now soak their morning kibble in warm water and no exercise for two hours after a meal. Next thing is to keep fingers crossed and remain vigilant about physical and behavior changes: extended stomach, lethargy, drooling, licking mouth, stretching rear legs, drinking excessively, acting needy. Deja had all symptoms when she had a twisted colon. It is not always the stomach that twists.
Trust your gut feelings; if I had gone to bed that night, she would have died. As I am writing this, she just put a toy in my lap. She is so alive!
 

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Tacked stomach. No more "deer away"products used, change food gradually.



Think the food/exercise thing doesn't hold up to science any more (much like the no swimming for an hour after eating for kids was found invalid). Rest of life went on as before. She lived several more years.
 

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Think the food/exercise thing doesn't hold up to science any more (much like the no swimming for an hour after eating for kids was found invalid). .
Do you have a link that shows this? Until then it is easy to play it safe. Interestingly they do like to play together after a good meal. That did make me think about the validity of no exercise after food since they do it naturally.
 

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My vet recently recommended that we do a gastropexi on my 6 month old when we have him neutered at 9 mon-12 months. Does this surgery prevent bloat or can they still get it,
 

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Discussion Starter #6
They can still get it but it’s less likely to twist. If it’s very bad, it can pull the tack loose.
 

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Do you have a link that shows this? Until then it is easy to play it safe. Interestingly they do like to play together after a good meal. That did make me think about the validity of no exercise after food since they do it naturally.
It was the Tufts study, to which I posted a link in the other large, recent thread on bloat:
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/basic-care/742697-bowl-height-bloat.html#post9027697

It was one of several common myths that they "busted," finding no correlation of bloat-risk (another was water intake before and after eating).

For prevention, it's worth focusing on what they found had lower correlation:

-slower eating

-not using a raised feeder

-reducing the dog's stress

-avoiding fat among the first four ingredients of food

-avoiding moistening dry food that contains citric acid (this is apparently a big one)

-feeding kibble with rendered meat-and-bone meal (!)

-letting the dog get a little tubby (!)

The last two obviously lead to other issues to worry about, but if bloat is all you're focused on, that's what the Tufts data points to -- though some of it may turn out to be statistical noise, as no one really knows what causes it, and that means no one really knows how to prevent it. :(


I do have a suspicion that kibble-feeding is going to someday turn out to be connected and raw-fed dogs will have far less of it, but that's pure supposition on my part. Tufts researchers seemingly hate raw diets (at least their nutrition specialists rail against them), so you'll probably never see a study from them that includes them, unless it's to try to make them look bad.


I've no memory of anyone posting about a raw-fed dog on this board bloating. Given how many raw-fed dogs there are here, that's striking to me. Does anyone know of one?
 

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This verges on gossip because it is "I have a friend who" --- religiously fed raw to her Akitas. She was meticulous about exercise around food and water times. At least two (and I think four) of her dogs bloated -- and did not recover very well. So yeah -- what causes it?



My dog who bloated was a very careful eater. Her buddy was a true chow hound, scarfing down kibble as though it were a contest -- and she never had a problem. The one that had bloat was narrow chested, lithe and lean. She did recover well and went on to lead an active lilfe for several more years. Recovery from bloat is possible with good outcomes if you act in time. Surgery is expensive.



Do your best, know your dog, know symptoms - know how to get to your emergency vet quickly. Speed is of essence when you suspect bloat. So is being prepared financially. I have to laugh a bit because although her symptoms weren't quite typical of bloat, I did race my current youngest to the e vet last year. She walked into the office and immediately peed on their floor. And felt 100% better after that! Watered their floor twice more. I went ahead with the blood tests because, after all, we were there. It wasn't cheap but it was far cheaper than bloat surgery and her recovery was instant... So although her symptoms weren't exactly right for bloat, they were worrisome enough that the trip was worth it.
 

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It was the Tufts study, to which I posted a link in the other large, recent thread on bloat:
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/basic-care/742697-bowl-height-bloat.html#post9027697

It was one of several common myths that they "busted," finding no correlation of bloat-risk (another was water intake before and after eating).

For prevention, it's worth focusing on what they found had lower correlation:

-slower eating

-not using a raised feeder

-reducing the dog's stress

-avoiding fat among the first four ingredients of food

-avoiding moistening dry food that contains citric acid (this is apparently a big one)

-feeding kibble with rendered meat-and-bone meal (!)

-letting the dog get a little tubby (!)

The last two obviously lead to other issues to worry about, but if bloat is all you're focused on, that's what the Tufts data points to -- though some of it may turn out to be statistical noise, as no one really knows what causes it, and that means no one really knows how to prevent it. :(


I do have a suspicion that kibble-feeding is going to someday turn out to be connected and raw-fed dogs will have far less of it, but that's pure supposition on my part. Tufts researchers seemingly hate raw diets (at least their nutrition specialists rail against them), so you'll probably never see a study from them that includes them, unless it's to try to make them look bad.


I've no memory of anyone posting about a raw-fed dog on this board bloating. Given how many raw-fed dogs there are here, that's striking to me. Does anyone know of one?
Thank you! Deja has kibble in the early morning and raw at night. Her colon twisted late afternoon after swimming No clue if the swimming caused it. She threw up her raw food several hours later. Not sure if a colon twist and stomach bloat have the same causes. The vets in the ER didn't know the answer either.

I wonder if pregnant dogs have a lesser of higher chance of bloat, what the occurrences are.
 

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I've no memory of anyone posting about a raw-fed dog on this board bloating. Given how many raw-fed dogs there are here, that's striking to me. Does anyone know of one?

I do know of raw fed dogs bloating. Perhaps with lower frequency though, I'm not sure. A doberman belonging to a woman I know from flyball died of bloat a few days before Keefer bloated last year. And I'm sure there was at least one or two from the board quite some time ago, people who haven't been active here in a long time.
 

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For prevention, it's worth focusing on what they found had lower correlation:

-not using a raised feeder

A correlation/causation question I've always had about this is that the breeds who are more likely to bloat are also the most likely to have raised feeders, as they are all larger dogs.

This study is still ongoing, it will be interesting to see what the results are. Keefer contributed samples to the study. I don't know if they're still looking for participants or not. AKC Canine Health Foundation


Dr. Harkey’s team recently completed a study in Great Danes in which they showed a significant association of three genes of the dogs’ immune system with bloat. For each of the three genes, one allele (variant) was found at high frequency in dogs with bloat, and the presence of any one of these “risk” alleles tripled the chance the dog would experience bloat during its life. Their findings will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Veterinary Research. The research team also showed that the bacterial population living in the intestinal tract (the gut microbiome) was altered in dogs with bloat and in dogs that carry these “risk” alleles, possibly predisposing them to bloat.

CHF’s CEO, Dr. Diane Brown, states that, “While we don’t yet know if other dogs show this same association of genetics and the gut microbiome with GDV, this new research will explore whether this association occurs in another breed of dog, the German Shepherd Dog.” According to Dr. Harkey, “Our hope is to define genetic markers for identification of at-risk dogs of all breeds, and ultimately, to design appropriate probiotic or dietary therapies to prevent GDV. This funding will carry us closer to these goals.”
 

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Thought I’d weigh in here with a different perspective, starting with a statement of the current fact situation as I see it. The larger reality is that researchers and practitioners don’t know what causes GDV. The best we have are correlational indices of risk factors. That is it. Correlations may suggest but do not confirm causality. I think it’s critical for us to understand that this larger reality makes it difficult (if not impossible) to meaningfully talk about prevention.

That said, there are things that the owners can do in advance. While I hope that no one ever needs this information, I also believe it’s better to be prepared. So, what follows are my strong suggestions of three ways owners can prepare.

1. Educate yourself about Bloat/GDV. We use the terms bloat and GDV interchangeably, but they are different things. Bloat (gastric dilation) is basically a bellyful of gas which may/may not lead to the stomach/intestines torsing/knotting/twisting back on themselves (volvulvus). That in turn, cuts off oxygen and blood supply to vital organs, kills tissues and can lead to a very painful death. Note that the spleen also can twist (splenic torsion) which is a life threatening emergency too. Thus, your goal is to intervene before torsion occurs or as soon thereafter as is humanly possible. Here’s a link describing the process:


Gastic Dilatation and Volvulvus: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-p...lvulus-in-dogs

2. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of Bloat.
This is the best way to determine whether your dog is heading towards an emergency that requires intervention. Examples include, but are not limited to, vomiting, retching, restlessness, standing hunched over, etc. Below are a couple of links with good descriptions. READ THEM. Don’t just rely on one individual’s description, including mine, learn the array. Keep in mind that each dog is different and may present idiosyncratically. It’s best to know your dog, what’s typical and what’s not.



3. Keep simethocone (active ingredient in GasX) on hand and in your car, at all times. In consultation with your vet, figure out the correct dosage for each dog, print it out and put it in the drug’s packaging. If you suspect that your dog is bloating, administer the simethicone immediately and head for the nearest ER. Do NOT wait. Once there, tell staff what you administered and when. I've never seen any contraindications with the use of simethecone; if you're concerned, speak to your vet.

Other Stuff:

Over the years, I’ve heard the suggestion that owners familiarize themselves with what a dog’s full stomach feels and looks like as a way to recognize GDV. Here’s the problem that I have with that approach: A dog with a bellyful of food looks/feels nothing like the distention that you see in dogs with full on GDV. What you’re looking for (but hope never to see) is the kind of stomach distention that’s not uncommon among starving children in third world countries. By the time you see that, however, it may be too late. IMO, it’s better to learn the initial symptoms (see #2 above) and intervene in a timely manner.

I’ve had 3 wolfhounds that developed GDV; two made it, one didn’t. Following gastropexy for the survivors, here’s the management (NOT preventative) system that I follow. I use mid height raised bowls for food and water. I feed adults 2x daily (puppies 3/4 x daily depending), moisten the kibble base and add a rotating diet of healthy toppers. I also change the kibble base as new info comes in (this forum is particularly great at keeping us all up to date). I also give pre/probiotic supplements, again changing which I use as new information comes in. Treats are organic, freeze dried meat or I make my own. And, I don’t feed within 90 minutes (before or after) of any kind of exercise, walkies included. I pay careful (some might say obsessive) attention to their elimination habits and the quality of their, uh, product. Any variance gets my immediate attention; same with regurgitation (vomiting). Most importantly, I monitor their daily moods, energy levels and behavior. Any change gets my immediate attention. Knowing your dog is key, I believe, in GDV and any other disease process.

It’s highly unlikely that anything I do is at all ‘preventative.’ Well, except for close monitoring of behavior and elimination habits. It’s far more likely than not that I’d do the very same things even without the experience of GDV. By training and temperament, I prefer to accept the facts of a given situation, including that no one knows very much about all of this.

I’m also human and I want to do something. So, I follow my management plan. But, I do so knowing full well that it’s not going to prevent GDV. I’m also better prepared (see points #1 thru #3, above) if I ever encounter it again.

And, I feel better.

Aly
 

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I've no memory of anyone posting about a raw-fed dog on this board bloating. Given how many raw-fed dogs there are here, that's striking to me. Does anyone know of one?
Unfortunately, I know of more than a few, raw fed wolfhounds that developed GDV --- including one breeder who lost almost half of her dogs during/after moving the kennel. They were raw fed too.

Aly
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I started giving mine coconut oil once a day in food. I moisten food a little, not soaked. I also use cold water because when I used warm it made the food bubble and may have changed the vitamin content, I’m not sure. I was feeding 3 times a day to avoid bloat, which did not work. I am looking for a good probiotic and prebiotic to give him. I prefer something I can buy in a local store rather than online but I may not find one.

My dog is calm but he also has high drive and sometimes gets very wild. I’m not sure if that is anxiety or not. Certain things trigger him into action or the perceived need to take action. He was 10 lbs overweight, he uses a bowl on the floor, I don’t restrict water but the bowls are not overfilled as they both spill water on the floor when they are. He was eating Fromm Salmon a la veg. Fromm uses Scorbic acid as a preservative but that is not vitamin C. It is only one component of C. I have switched him to whitefish and potato as it’s lower fat.

I was giving him string cheese in toys to keep him busy during the week before it happened. The cheese may have made him ill, but we don’t know. The surgeon said it’s possible the bloat started even days before but was mild and only caused behavior changes when it twisted. His stomach was not hard or distended but when I pressed on his ribs on one side, he yelped. He could not settle, kept pacing and licking the roof of his mouth. He was never hunched over and it did not otherwise look like bloat. I thought it was cause by a bee sting at first, then we realized within ten minutes it was serious. We literally raced him to the ER, skipped the vet who is not equipped for 24 hour care. They said that getting him in quickly saved his life. On the X-ray he had a complete stomach flip. They first used something to relieve the pressure. I don’t know what, maybe a tube to pull out the build up. When they opened him, his stomach was back in place. When one of our previous dogs bloated, he vomited clear mucus and was also pacing but the symptoms were completely different.

One possibility is that he plays with toys in an area which has some dead grass and dirt and may have swallowed some of each.

I’m glad he was overweight because he lost weight as a result of the surgery but didn’t seem to lose muscle. He is not overweight now, though
 

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I do have a suspicion that kibble-feeding is going to someday turn out to be connected and raw-fed dogs will have far less of it, but that's pure supposition on my part.

Magwarts, according to the study, your 'suspicion' is supported by that article, though it doesn't bother to separate out the different types of diets:

During the past 30 years there has been a 1,500 percent increase in the incidence of bloat, and this has coincided with the increased feeding of dry dog foods. There is a much lower incidence of bloat in susceptible breeds in Australia and New Zealand. Feeding practices in these countries have been found to be less dependent on dry foods.
Personally, however, I don't believe raw feeding is all that important. Dog have been domesticated for thousands of years, and studies have shown they are much better at digesting carbs than wild canids. Think about it for a minute: when did dogs last survive by hunting?? The ones that became domesticated were the ones that hung around human's garbage middens, and fought for scraps. Those scraps included meat, bone, offal and grains and vegetables. (Even hunters and gatherers ate MORE than just meat, and once humans settled down and began to farm the land, the amount of carbs in the dog's diet would have skyrocketed!)

Also, as someone who's studied biology, I am into bones in a big way. If you compare the teeth of a wolf to those of a dog, even a large wolf-like dog, like the GSD, it is very easy to see the wolf has much larger, stronger teeth, with deeper roots and stronger skull bones to help them deal with live prey.

Animals will eat anything when they are really hungry. Cats are much more dependent on meat than dogs, because they must have taurine in their diet. Yet I've seen barn cats gladly chow down on bread and milk, because that's all that the farmer offered. They were expected to fend for themselves when it came to catching meat.

Maybe we'll find out table scraps supplemented with kibble and the cheaper cuts of meat is the healthiest way to go. That's pretty much what dogs were fed before kibble was invented.
 

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Another suggestion. If you don't already know it, figure out the closest 24 hr ER practice before you need it. I'd program it into your GPS, if you have it, or map out the route, if you don't.

Aly
 
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