Definition of Bloat
Bloat, also called gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) or torsion, is an extremely painful and potentially fatal medical condition where a dog’s stomach rotates and fills with gas and fluid that can’t escape, either up the esophagus or down the small intestine. What causes bloat isn’t well-understood. However, the ballooning stomach pushes on the diaphragm and abdominal blood vessels, shutting down digestion and reducing blood return to the heart. Organs stop functioning, gastrointestinal tissues ulcerate, the stomach may rupture and, within a very short period of time, the dog goes into shock. By this point the animal is in excruciating pain and fighting for its life. Without immediate medical attention, the chance of survival is extremely low. Owners should have a good relationship with their nearby veterinarians and become familiar with the signs of bloat, so that if it happens they are prepared.