Bloat - Page 1

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NavidD

by NavidD on 02 January 2009 - 02:01

Dino was a 5 year old purebred, black, Labrador Retriever.  Field Lab specifically. 

I had no idea what bloat was until it happened on March 12, 2008 - two days before the birth of our daughter, Katherine.  Fortunately, when it happened, I was able to get him to the local Animal Urgent Care and have it fixed.  They said, if I had waited another 15-30 minutes, he would have eventually died, or that the damage would have been severe, and it could have reduced the survival rate, post-op.   At first, I thought maybe he just had gas or something.  When he ballooned up and couldn't throw up, and showed signs of distress, I freaked out and called my vet to see what was going on.  My vet was closed (typical, when an emergency happens, it is always at the worst time), and their number said to call Animal Urgent Care.  The guy I spoke with said it's bloat, explained what that was, and was very clear that if I don't get the dog in, he will die - period. The x-rays and test confirmed it was bloat.  The surgery went well, and he was on to the road of recovery.  Surprisingly enough, after two weeks, he was back to normal, even though I was instructed to make sure he takes it easy for the first month, which I did.  No throwing the ball, or swimming etc.   Three months later, he had some issues similar to bloat but without the bloat.  He was throwing up and had diarrhea constantly, and he had to be opened up again, because it looked as if he had some blockage in his intestines.  After they opened him up, they realized that strangely enough, there was no blockage.  This problem continued to persist, where he would be really uncomfortable and wake up at all hours of the night with stomach problems and gas.   After a couple of more months, my vet said he checked with some "internists" who specialize in internal medicine, specifically with bloat cases, and said we have to undo the gastropexi.  I was scared to death because I knew the probability of the dog bloating would go as high as 85%, and in some cases 100%.  He said we have to do this because he suspected that the gastropexi was done in a spot that was causing problems in his intestines.  I also had changed his diet and eliminated dry dog food, and had him eating ProPlan Sensitive Skin and Stomach formula, which is made up of Salmon and rice.  He did well with that, and seemed to fix the problem.  He seemed to be ok for a couple of months after undoing the gastropexi.  The vet said if he bloats again, we'll redo the gastropexi in a different area of the stomach wall/chest.   Unfortunately, he threw up a couple of times when I was out of town.  My wife and I figured that he would get anxious and stressed out when he saw me leaving on business trips.  So, I just packed my stuff and put it in the car the night before or really early in the morning so he would think I'm going to work, and not on a business trip.  So by now we knew, #1) the dog has stomach and internal issues, regardless of the gastropexi being done, and then later undone, #2) that he would get stressed out when he saw me leave with my suitcase etc. and would later throw up or get diarrhea, and #3) to keep dry dog food out of his diet, and feed him smaller portions in multiple servings over a day.   CONTINUED...

NavidD

by NavidD on 02 January 2009 - 02:01

By this time it was 9 months since his first surgery and the gastropexi, and two months since undoing the gastropexi to relieve him of the stomach and diarrhea issues.  He went from being about 80-85lbs down to 75lbs and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t' get him to gain weight.

I fed him 4 cans over 4 feeding times to make it less likely for him to bloat.  5:30-6am, 11am-12pm, 4p-5pm, and then again around 8-9pm.  Despite 4 feedings a day, I could not get him to gain weight and he was stuck on 75-76lbs.  His spine showed, so did his hips.  And his skin was very lean.  He clearly looked like he wasn't getting enough food.

After all of this and about $15k in medical expenses, my worst nightmare came true on December 14, 2008.  Saturday, early evening, about 4pm we got home, I feed Dino his third can of the day.  About an hour and 15 minutes later, he gets up off the bed I have for him in my office and goes out to poop with my wife.  When he comes back in, he starts acting weird.  My wife takes him out again, and he's doing all the things he did when he bloated.  My heart fell into my throat when I saw this happening.  Then he tried to throw up and nothing was coming up and he started to whine and yelp.  I got him in the car and immediately took him to Animal Urgent Care.  Of course, it's Saturday after 5pm so my vet was closed.  I called him on his cell, and he said to take Dino to the Urgent Care.   When I got there, the doctor that worked on him the first time was there.  Dr. B. we'll call him.  He came in and said they tried passing a feeding tube to let out the air and food, but his stomach has distended counter clockwise and needs surgery to fix it.  He said the gastric torsion is "atypical" and not like the last time he bloated.  Dr.B. said that because Dino's anatomy is "atypical", there is no guarantee that even surgery can fix it this time.  His stomach had compartmentalized, and the only option was to put him to sleep, or to see if the part of the stomach that had the twist would pass the food or digest it.  I was going to have him do the surgery ($8k), but asked him if this will guarantee that Dino will be good again, and he said no.  "I can't guarantee that."  I asked him if it was his dog what would he do?  He said outside of surgery, which will be risky, "I'd opt humane euthanasia".   I was just devestated.  With the deepest sadness in our heart, we lost Dino, our 5 year old Labrador Retriever on Saturday, December 14, 2008 at 2:05am.  Dino turned 5 on October 6th, 2008.  
Dino had another bout of GDV [Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus] (aka bloat http://www.globalspan.net/bloat.htm), and couldn't be saved.  5 surgeries this year, and each time we fixed one problem, another one would persist. 
 
We are just torn from the inside out, and know only time, one hour at a time, will ease the searing pain.  I tried so hard, and spent over $15k this year, and each time we were hopeful that he'd been fixed.  For the most part we thought he was, until this happened.

CONTINUED...


NavidD

by NavidD on 02 January 2009 - 02:01


CONTINUED...
 
 
Dino, was the best dog ever, and so wonderful with our neighbor's kids.  He was a person.  Everyone who met him, just fell instantly in love with him.  He loved to swim in our pool, lounge on the couch, and slept in Alex's bottom bunk.  He even had a bed in each of our bedrooms.
 
 
Dino, can never be replaced.  I'm so deeply numb about the untimely and unexpected death of my beloved Dino.  I just thought by writing about it, it will help us start the healing process - and maybe help someone who might read this post and save their dog.  It's another real life story of Marley & me, it's just Dino & me instead.
 
Thank you for letting me share how special Dino was in our life. Dino leaves behind me, my wife, our 9 year old son, and 9 month old little daughter.

NavidD

by NavidD on 02 January 2009 - 02:01

I'm still feeling the pain for the loss of my Dino.  Thank you all for your support, and messages.

My hope is that someone, anyone will read these posts and hopeful save their dog when this invisible tsunami hits.  I have a link for the last poster on factors contributing to it (bloat). http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/gsd/bulletins_read/39311.html  and another good link with photos and xrays http://www.thepetcenter.com/sur/bloat.html

Bloat in the dog at ThePetCenter.com

Scientists have tried to decades to learn about how bloat occurs by setting up bloating conditions in the laboratory with laboratory dogs... and consistently have failed in producing the spontaneous bloating that occurs with canine house pets.  The usual history is of a dog of a large breed that has recently eaten a meal of dry dog food and then exercises or engages in some physical Bloat in the dog at ThePetCenter.com activity.  On occasion, though, there is no history of physical activity and the dogs is suddenly seen trying to retch and vomit unsuccessfully.  The dog paces, becomes uncomfortable, attempts to pass stool and repeatedly makes retching, gagging noises.  Salivation is common.  At this stage it is impossible to determine what type of bloat is occurring. 

So, here is a summary - Scientists have tried to find out what causes bloat in dogs in laboratory settings, and have pretty much come up with some ideas, but no silver bullet - yet.  #1) Deep-chested dogs between the ages of 4-7 are more susceptible than younger dogs (see a list of dogs in the link above by ranking). #2) Dogs who eat dry kibble food and eat fast, and take in a lot of air.  #3) Scientists have found that activity a couple of hours before and after eating may also play a role in dog bloat.  #4) Dogs who drink a lot of water before or after feeding.

Taking these things into consideration will give you a great chance to save your pets life, should they bloat.  It's like having your emergency check list that will make the difference between life or death, and also keeping down your costs. 

Like I said in my earlier post, I spent over $15k on Dino in 2008, and the last time did me in.  Dino also had an "a-typical" anatomy, which made his situation unique, and his internal organs made him have chronic stomach and intestinal issues.  He was cursed right out of the gate.  I'm glad I got him though, because I can't imagine the financial hardship it could have caused another family, and ultimately the emotional and physical hardship it would have caused Dino.  God made it so he would be part of our family.  Love him always and look forward to seeing him in heaven some day.


by Barkus on 23 February 2009 - 22:02

We also lost a dog to bloat.  Smoke of White Oak was his name.  An excellent dog, who did not fill many of the typical parameters of large chest cavity, etc.  He was also 12 years old!  This was 1984.  At that time and since then we have still used dry dog food, but it is allowed to soak up in warm water so that it is soft.  This takes about 15-20 minutes.  No subsequent dog has had bloat!

NavidD

by NavidD on 14 December 2009 - 16:12

It's been a year, and the pain caused by the loss of our beloved Dino is still very raw.  We miss him so much.  I feel terrible that he couldn't be with us longer.  I love him so much.  No other dog will ever replace the love we have for him.

We love you Dino bo-beeno!  What a good dog.

Love you always...





 


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