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title:   Bloat1                                                          ID:  11
author:   many
description:   Another addition to the medicine chest
content:   Another addition to the medicine chest (Marianne Becktel)
Mon, 29 Jan 1996 13:30:54 -0600

If your berner is going through some of the common, maybe even dangerous looking upset stomach, possibly pre-bloat symptoms, such as gulping air, drooling, grabbing mouthfulls of anything they can get it around, Give two tablespoons of Mylanta 2 (double strength Mylanta) every half hour until the symptoms go away.


Schatzhof Bernese...each a treasure! Bay City, Michigan


Another addition to the medicine chest ( SUSAN ABLON)
Mon, 29 Jan 1996 19:38:55 EST


I would have to question your advise. If my dog looks as if he is experiencng bloat I will not take the chance of giving him Mylanta or anything else. This is an emergency situation. Dogs can get gassy and progress to bloat in a heart beat and giving Mylanta every half hour delays help. At what point do you decide that the symptoms have gone away and at what point do you go to the vet. Having lived through bloat and gastric distention I would be sore pressed to be able to distinguish the two.

Susan Ablon


BERNER-L Digest 203

Re: Another addition to the medicine chest (Marjorie E. Reho)
Tue, 30 Jan 1996 09:35:39 -0500

Since this is such a good forum to discuss and potentially disagree (always like a good debate!), with regard to bloat and whether to give or not give Mylanta (or similar), I definitely keep a bottle of Maalox in my doggie medicine cabinet and will not hesitate to use it if I feel someone is bloating. Like Sue, I too have lived through bloat -- and my dog, Anneke, did too the first two times she bloated -- but not the third. I always wondered if I would be able to recognize bloat after reading about it and hearing of people losing dogs to it. Folks, if your dogs are house dogs and with you, such that you're sensitive to them and actually have eyes-on them (i.e., they don't live outside, unattended in a kennel), you can't miss it. I had no doubt Anneke had bloated the first time she did. When the emergency clinic kept her all night (of course she bloated at 1:00 am) and did nothing, AND had the nerve to not only charge me big $ but to tell me there was no bloat, I was flaming mad. She looked like she had swallowed an inflated basketball, couldn't sit or lay down, and was just classic in her symptoms. But they were incompetant and bloat scared them silly. Especially since Anneke had a track record on anesthesia intolerance -- this was before the days of isoflourine. In fact, this is what ultimately led to the bloat (she was on a drug for arhythmia caused by her heart stopping during a 15-minute earflap hemotoma repair operation. Her heart rhythm never went back to normal so she was put on a drug to control electrical impulses in her body. This drug was later linked to bloat cases and has since been removed from vet medicine.)

Anyway, I took her to my real vet in the morning who positively confirmed bloat, and was able to get a stomach tube in. No torsion. But I was told to positively keep Maalox liquid on hand, and was give Regulan to also have on hand in case it occurred again (and unfortunately bloat cases most frequently do re- occur in the same dog). If I detected another bloat, my orders were to try to get the Maalox down her pronto, THEN call the vet. It did happen two more times. The first of these two was handled by the Maalox and Regulan. But the second time we lost her at the vet's. So while I don't advocate trying to home-medicate a bloat and solve all the problems myself, I do believe in rapid response to this emergency, and that does include pouring Maalox into them while at the same time involving the vet.

-Margie and the Dallybeck girls (Virginia)


Re: Another addition to the medicine chest (Marianne Becktel)
Tue, 30 Jan 1996 09:38:14 -0600

>I would have to question your advise. If my dog looks as if he is experiencng bloat I will not take the

chance of giving him Mylanta or anything else. This is an emergency situation. Dogs can get gassy and progress to bloat in a heart beat and giving Mylanta every half hour delays help. At what point do you decide that the symptoms have gone away and at what point do you go to the vet. Having lived through bloat and gastric distention I would be sore pressed to be able to distinguish the two.
>Susan Ablon

If distressed, I would by all means do the same. This is a remedy I heard recently from both a vet and an oldtime breeder, that seemed to address both the burping and salivating problems we discussed last fall, which are not related to bloat, and early suspected bloat conditions. The vet thinks it might reverse a potential bloating problem if it's there and given early, and at least something to do to buy time on the way to the vet if that is called for. Hearing the same solution for both problems within days of each other prompted the post, which was, I admit, worded badly. i regret the anxiety it may have caused.


Schatzhof Bernese...each a treasure! Bay City, Michigan


BERNER-L Digest 207

Bloat,Medicine Chest,any ideas?
Sat, 3 Feb 1996 09:37:47 -0500

. Our 2 year old female Nestle, goes through periiods where she will also gulp air The air gulping almost appeared as if she was having trouble breathing, like sinus problems. Sometimes whe will appear very lethargic and curl up in her bed in a tight fetal position. It worries us alot. She will also experience the vomiting symptoms (as descrinbed by Dlugas under any ideas.

But a few hours later she is back to normal and acts as if nothing ever was wrong. We are not familiar with bloating but physically she looks the same. I assume that bloat means here stomach expands,etc. which does not seem to happen. What exactly is bloat, what causes it and are these symptoms.

Any vets out there?

Andrew and Diana

Nestle will also experience the vomitingg symptoms


Bloat,Medicine Chest,any ideas? ( SUSAN ABLON)
Sat, 03 Feb 1996 10:55:03 EST

I am not a vet although have seen various forms of what we lump together as bloat. Bloat is gastric dilation which may or may not result in torsion and volvulous. Torsion is a partial twisting of the gut volvulous is a full twisting. This occurs primarily in large deep chested dogs. Whereas gastric dilation may be the initial stage of the illness it can be just as life threatening as torsion or volvulous. The illness is usually but not always associated with the eating or drinking behavior of the dog followed shortly thereafter by gradual expansion of gases in the gut due to improper emptying of the gastric contents. The abdomen becomes firm and gradually distends. The dog has a hard time lying down may pant heavily and circle as if trying to find someway to lie down and eventually try to vomit. If this continues the stomach will continue to expand which causes the dog great pain the gut may or may not twist at this point. A stomach tube passed into the dogs stomach at this point will deflate the gases and relieve the dog. Most dogs do not take the passing of a stomach tube very well. Once the stomach twists this becomes a surgical emergency. The odds of survival drop and time is of the essence. There is no way to know by looking at the dog if torsion/volvulous has occurred. If the stomach tube can not be passed then surgery is done. The vet will usually tack the stomach to the abdominal cavity to prevent the likelihood of bloat reoccurring. The next danger is the post-op period where many dogs die due to cardiac failure. The dilated abdomen (which becomes amazingly large) once decompressed had blocked the major arteries that pass through the abdominal cavity. Once these vessels are open again many dogs die of cardiac failure or shock. The survival rate is unfortunately low and the surgery does not mean bloat can not return. It had been suggested that if you see a dog with early "bloat" that you give it some Maalox. I might do this as another member stated as I was on my way to the vet. Most vets are terrified of bloat and will not even treat gastric dilation if it is mild. I can assure you the dog is still in distress and needs some help so be his advocate and insist something be done. Long term care for the dog prone to bloat is to feed small frequent meals 2-3 times a day and always be sure that the dog rests quitely 1hour before meals and 2 hours after.Limit the amount of water drunk after eating. Do not allow your dog to gulp large amounts of water and speak to your vet about medication to help increase the motility of the GI tract. Many people feel that you should feed the dog moistened food to decrease the need to gulp water after eating. Even when you do all these things bloat can still occur. No one knows why or what the hereditary component is so we must just be observant. Learn to read your dog and understand what he is telling you. They have a language it is just there for you to learn.

Susan Ablon in Tx. with snow!

ps. If your dog is curled up in a fetal position this is not bloat.


BERNER-L Digest 208

Bread and Bloat (Gael Goldsack)
Mon, 5 Feb 1996 08:45:34 +1000

Just a word of warning to all those who feed their dogs bread. Like all treats, feed it in moderation. It can lie in the stomach and ferment and cause bloat. I know of an Irish Wolfhound in Western Australia who died of bloat at the age of 18 months because he was fed too much bread. The owners used it as a filler in all his meals.

Gael and Kiri (with the waggy tail)
Sydney, Australia


BERNER-L Digest 226

Bloat (Gael Goldsack)
Fri, 23 Feb 1996 09:09:28 +1000

There has been a lot of discussion on this list lately about bloat in Berners, and the experiences of some owners who have had bloating Berners.
I had never heard of bloat in the breed until I started reading about it on this list, maybe it is not so common in Australia (I'm sure the Aussie breeders on this list can help here). I am however, very aware of bloat, having owned 2 Irish Wolfhounds, a breed where bloat seem to be common. Both my IW breeders gave me long and detailed information on bloat and it's causes, the one thing that hasn't been discussed to date. I will therefore share this information with you for the information of first time owners.
To lessen the likelihood of your dog bloating you should:

Feed your dog at least 2 hours after exercise or excessive excitement.
Do not feed your dog during the hour before exercise
Raise your dog's feed bowl so that they don't have to bend down to eat (mine have their own "coffee table")
Try not to let the dog gulp its food (and take in a lot of air at the same time)
Do not allow your dog to drink a large amount of water, prior to exercise, immediately after exercise, or immediately after their meal.
Feed smaller meals, twice a day instead of one large meal.
Do not feed too much food at once which is likely to ferment in the stomach (bread and some dried foods)
Do not feed your dog if it is distressed, in acute pain or is over heated
Bloat most commonly occurrs in deep-chested dogs of any age. It is more common in the older dog, but not unheard of in puppies. If a dog bloats once it is more likely to do it again. The symptoms of bloat are: restlessness (won't lie down), the dog sometimes makes a noise halfway between a cough and a gag, sometimes they get abdominal distension and may get a wild worried look about them. If any of these symptoms are present it is a veterinary emergency. You must get help before the stomach tortions. It is better to be safe than sorry, risk the after hours call fee - you may save your dog's life

That is my 2 cents worth, but maybe someone else can add to my dos and don'ts list?

Gael and Kiri (I hope wagging my tail is not counted as exercise - I'll never get fed!)
Sydney, Australia


BERNER-L Digest 230

Bloat, first installment
Mon, 26 Feb 1996 11:08:11 -0500

Y'all are scaring me to death....what the heck is bloat? I never heard anything about it from my breeder or vet. Are Newfs more suseptible than other dogs? Is it like when cows or sheep bloat? Most important, what are the symptoms (so I'd recognise it) and what do you do about it? Yeah, I know, go immediately to the vet....we are an hour driving time from a vet. What emergency measures could be taken. If our sheep bloat, there are bloat medications which we keep on hand and good old vegetable oil works. What works for newfs? I hate it when something like this comes up and scares me...Poop stories were funner!


Bloat is extremely serious and is a problem for deep chested breeds, of which Newfs are one, but don't panic just yet. There was an article in a recent issue of Dog Fancy on the subject, I believe, and there's a very good article on a Great Dane list or web site somewhere. Hopefully, someone can give you the particulars on that. Symptoms are restlessness, inability to sit properly, or lay down, distended stomach, possibly whining or whimpering along with the above. My understanding is that the real problem is not bloat, but torsion which occurs as a result of bloating. What happens is that the dog's stomach rotates twisting the entrance and exit tubes (for lack of scientific names), blood vessels, etc. Whatever is causing the bloat in the first place continues to produce gas which further distends the stomach since there's no way for it to escape, and the animal ultimately dies because of all the internal pressure. Sheep stomachs are constructed differently, but I presume the ultimate effect is pretty much the same. You're too far from a vet so you need to learn what emergency measures you can take. I believe the time limit is something like 20-30 minutes, but one of our resident vets can correct that. If the stomach hasn't torsioned, you can put a tube down the dog's throat to relieve the gas pressure. I don't know if you can use the method commonly used with cows of simply puncturing the stomach wall. Again, get good info from a vet on this and any other emergency measures.



Bloat, second installment
Mon, 26 Feb 1996 11:08:15 -0500

I don't think anyone meant to imply that rawhides cause bloat, exclusively. Since it's true the etiology is unresolved, a diagnosis of bloat would not likely be followed up with an autopsy, so if a rawhide was swallowed and was capable of causing bloat, it may go undiscovered. I used to give my GSD's (BTW Karen,--hey! I'm learning the lingo! Thanks to all who gave me the language lesson!!--GSD stands for German Shepherd Dog.) rawhides until one day one of them began to choke. He was in seriously increasing stress. I had to shove my two fingers down his throat as far as I could and attempt toremove the piece he had tried to swallow--no small task, because as you know they become extremely slimy and slippery when chewed. I was thankfully successful and vowed never to expose any of my dogs to such an unexpected danger ever again. My Newfies have never seen a rawhide either--it just is not worth the risk, even if there are no statistics on rawhides available.
You may find the following helpful--it is not meant to scare anyone. However, as the saying goes: to be fore armed is to be fore warned.
Definition: when a rapid accumulation of air in the stomach (bloat) occurs, sudden movement or the pressure alone may cause the stomach to flip or twist (torsion), closing off the entrance and exit, the dog may retch but cannot dispel the gas.
Theories of possible causes: large, deep-chested breeds; age; eager eating; heritage; obesity; stress; surgical complications; unrestricted activity following meals and large amounts of water consumption; aerophagia (air swallowing eg. room air); abnormal motility, the shape and angle of the digestive organs, stretching of stomach ligaments; even a possible link between bloat and calcium supplementation Symptoms: acute onset of abdominal distention (abdominal swelling) with nonproductive retching, restlessness (unable to find a comfortable position), anxiety, groaning, whining, pacing, respiratory distress, increased heart rate, weak femoral pulses, looks and feels miserable, dog manifests increased pain IMMEDIATE TREATMENT IS VITAL.

What to do:
*if your dog has increased stomach noises or flatulence, discuss antacids with your vet *do not allow your dog to be overweight
*do not feed your dog immediately before or after stressful situations or vigorous exercise, allow 1 hour before and after activity for relaxation, walking however is acceptable *be particularly careful during stressful situations, eg. showing, breeding, pregnancy, boarding, working, illness and post-surgery
*feed two or more small meals a day, rather than one large meal, feed the dog at a time when someone is home to observe behavior
*be alert to symptoms
*contact a vet immediately--time is critical
*limit water intake after meals, particularly if the dog regularly drinks large quantities of water *make dietary changes gradually (studies done at U of Florida, Colorado State U, U of Illinois are said to show that types of food appear to have no influence on bloat *take predisposition shown by particular bloodlines into consideration when planning breeding programs *dogs with a past history of bloat require extra special care as they are at increased risk

Hope this helps to answer some of your questions. And may you never have to experience this terrible situation.



Bloat, third installment
Mon, 26 Feb 1996 11:08:17 -0500

>Y'all are scaring me to death....what the heck is bloat? I never heard anything about it from my breeder or

vet. Are Newfs more susceptible than other dogs? Is it like when cows or sheep bloat? Most important, what are the symptoms (so I'd recognize it) and what do you do about it? Yeah, I know, go immediately to the vet....we are an hour driving time from a vet. What emergency measures could be taken. If our sheep bloat, there are bloat medications which we keep on hand and good old vegetable oil works. What works for newfs? I hate it when something like this comes up and scares me...Poop stories were funner!
>Jude and Katie (who didn't know she was a bloat candidate)

There were a number of posts regarding bloat a few months ago. I have pulled out a description of symptoms that I posted at that time. Bloat is not as common in Newfs as in some other breeds (e.g. komondors, Great Danes), but is sufficiently common that all Newf owners should be aware of the symptoms. I agree that the cause is essentially unknown. There are a bunch of precautions people take, that are based on a combination of research, common sense, and anecdotal reports. We take some precautions, feeding twice a day, for example. Others suggest not letting the dog exercise for an hour or two before or after eating. Some people do suggest not eating soy based food--but that is far from proven. It is known that the gas in the stomach is air, not products from fermenting food, soy or other components. I have seen a lot of people taking this to mean that bloat is actually caused by swallowing air along with the food. I've never seen any convincing proof that the air isn't swallowed as a result of discomfort once the pathological process has started. I've never seen raw hide listed as a cause, though we give it to the dogs only seldom and are somewhat cautious with it (e.g. we don't usually leave them unattended with it). I think obstructions (but not what we usually classify as true bloat) could infrequently occur. There are a number of people in other breeds that feel strongly that there is a genetic risk factor, i.e. risk of bloat seems to run in families in some breeds. Whether this simple follows some structural risk factor (large & deep chested) or is some other less obvious factor, I don't know. However, if the sire or dam of a puppy has bloated we are a little more vigilant with a dog and the incidence of bloat in the family of a stud dog is a factor we consider in breeding.
Here is the previous post--I have also appended the WWW address for the Great Dane home page and bloat posting:
> should probably be very aware of the possibility of BLOAT. A few years ago we had a Komondor that bloated and it apparently resolved itself--that time. It was misdiagnosed by an emergency room veterinarian, so it could be misdiagnosed by a vet student. She later bloated again, this time with torsion, and in spite of excellent emergency surgery, she DIED.
>Komondors are prone to bloat, and most Komondor people believe that once a dog bloats, it is that extremely likely to happen again. We now are very aware of the symptoms and call the emergency hospital immediately if we see it. The AGITATION you noticed, particularly with the HEAVY DROOL could be indicative of this kind of problem. Often, these dogs PACE, act like they can't get comfortable, and behave as if they're TRYING TO VOMIT--or sometimes like they are almost CHOKING ON THICK SALIVA. You can often see these things BEFORE you see any abdominal distention. If she bloats, this is an IMMEDIATELY LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCY. If your are not familiar with the syndrome there is an excellent description on the Great Dane Home Page. We will try to find the address from you if you have Web access. Otherwise, maybe one of our vets on the list can give you better pointers and/or descriptions. It is something that anyone with a large, deep-chested dog should be familiar with. >The address of the bloat section of the www great dane web location is This is a very thorough discussion of bloat. Maybe more than you want. If you have web access, but it's very slow you might want to surpress some of the pictures. The file with the pictures is well worth while having. I would down-load it and then print it out.

Pat Randall


Bloat, fourth installment
Mon, 26 Feb 1996 11:08:21 -0500

I think for the time being we've just about exhausted the topic. I did want to bring up one more thing that, while unpleasant, will be easier to take if you're prepared: the cost. Most vets that we know (and most owners of high incidence breeds) are very aggressive about surgery in dogs brought in for bloat, even if they manage to pass a tube and the dog could theoretically be handled without surgery. The recurrence rate is extremely high and it can be reduced dramatically with the surgery (Meyer-Lindenberg, A. et al., Treatment of gastric dilatation-volvulus and a rapid method for prevention of relapse in dogs: 134 cases (1988-1991) JAVMA, 203:1303-1307, 1993). Although technically the dog can still bloat after the surgery, it cannot show torsion. However, even the recurrence of distension (bloat) without torsion was very low in the surgically treated group. Different surgical techniques for tacking the stomach also lead to different recurrence rates (same reference).
We have acquaintances in Komondors and Great Danes that advocate prophylactic surgery. They tack the stomach and loosen the pyloric valve in all of their dogs. While I don't agree with this, I am likely to go with the surgery once the dog bloats.
To make a long story short, if you are unfortunate enough to go through this, you may be facing very expensive surgery. In most areas of the country this emergency surgery will cost on the order of $800- $1200 (our cost for uncomplicated torsion--no tissue damage-- was $1000 two years ago). The cost may be reduced if it can be done in a non-emergency situation. Because of the difference in recovery rate with different techniques, we were actually glad to have the emergency surgeon do it--emergency medicine is his specialty and he gets a lot more practice that most vets. I would not be judgmental about anyone's decision under such circumstances. We had an emergency spay done on a bitch with pyometria several years ago. Without any warning or previous discussion we were given the bill in the office and it was 5 to 6 times the cost of the normal spay. It was very uncomfortable to be worried about the dog, and then to be hit unexpectedly with a major expense. There was no question that we were going to save the dog, but it would have been much better to have been prepared. That's the reason behind this post. Do not be shy about bringing up the cost of the surgery. Most emergency clinics are very up front about this, but some vets are not. Also, it is an excellent idea to discuss with your vet what you should do it this happens. Our vet actually prefers that we go to the emergency specialist for bloat.

Pat and Judi Randall


Bloat, fifth installment
Mon, 26 Feb 1996 11:08:15 -0500

I must agree with Tracy re bloat and rawhides. Our experience with bloat was about 12 years ago in a 9years+ bitch. She bloated 36 hours after her last meal. In fact, her refusing any food at her regular meal- time was the first warning that something was wrong. Her stomach contents were some undigested food, and fluid. She bloated again at 12+. Same thing. She died at 13+ of complications related to her age. The common factor each time was soy based food. The first time I was feeding that type of food, after that never again, but many dog biscuits are soy based, and she had been helping herself rather generously from the biscuit jar.
I have fed rawhides, and raw carrots as tooth cleaners, and have shiny white teeth on both Newfs and Cairns. I have never seen rawhide passed undigested [I scoop twice a day, unless there's heavy snowcover] and only very rarely has a dog regurgitated rawhide. On the rare occasion that has happened, the dog involved is either a greedy one, or very threatened by a greedy one. In feeding rawhides, I do make certain that they are not the type that the "knots" are stuck on; knotted rawhides should be a strip with knots tied in each end. If you're not sure, soak one in hot water, and see how it is made. It is very possible that the dog which bloated, swallowed a knot which caused an obstruction. It would then be undigested in the gut, as death is frequently a rapid result of bloat/torsion. The moulded bone shape is safer, also the strips. My policy is that dogs are never left alone with a chewy, and if one knot is left, it is removed from the Newfs, and passed on to the Cairns who are in a room or ex-pen where the Newfs cannot steal it back. Some chance - steal from a terrier. :) If you have two sizes of dogs, then the little guys can only have chews and toys that are safe for the big guys. Same rule applies to the combination of adults and pups. The value of lists like this is that we all have something to teach one another, and a lot to learn. I think many learned from the "scoop on poop" how important kennel hygiene is, and that when the yard is cleaned daily, you know if "things" are ok.
I have enjoyed "meeting" folks that love this breed. Their ownership of a Newfie has given them great pleasure - that is what a Newf is all about - your dog knows you and loves you anyway. Thanks for the smiles. I sit in my office at my keyboard with Homer, aka cyberNewf at my side and know that all around the world there are people doing the same thing. Sometimes it just helps to know that there is someone who will listen to your experiences with your dog. Sometimes we just have to share our own little joys. Remember - being "online" means never being lonely or alone, and always having someone, somewhere to share stories with.

Jacky, and Homer, in Newfoundland


Bloat, sixth installment
Mon, 26 Feb 1996 11:08:50 -0500

Living with a dog which has bloated means you always monitor everything that goes into its mouth. Literature about bloat frequently says that the most likely candidate for bloat/torsion is a young male who eats his food rapidly, drinks a large volume of water afterwards, and then is in a situation where he can exercise himself. Our experience was with a bitch who fitted none of these criteria. When it happened to us we were advised to stop feeding soy based food. Although it is correct to say the link between soy based food and bloat is inconclusive, it should also be observed that most research into pet food is done by, or funded by pet food manufacturers.
This is rather like having the fox guard the henhouse. Anecdotal evidence given by many owners of dogs which have experienced bloat have had as a common link the feeding of soy based food. There has also been anecdotal evidence that the predisposition to bloat is genetic. In our own case, we could find no other relative of our bitch which had suffered bloat. I no longer feed dog food containing soy, I divide their meal in two feedings, and require the dogs to "rest" for several hours afterward. For ten years, so far so good [fingers, etc. crossed]
Although this terrible condition is primarily seen in large, deep-chested breeds, it has also occurred [here] in a Corgi. Whether it is the food, the feeding, or the inability of some dogs to process their food properly, I don't know, and have not seen anything that gives a definitive reason. Also, I have not seen any data which shows if bloat is more probable in dogs kept in a kennel, than in those dogs raised in the home. Feral canines gorge, then rest. Whether a "natural" diet of raw meat, grains and veg prevents bloat, I don't know. I have personal knowledge of a Newf who bloated, although his diet was home-made; he was also a laid-back personality. In the meantime, we should educate ourselves to the symptoms, and have a vet who knows how to deal with the condition, and who has an excellent emergency service. Time is of the utmost importance. The tragic loss of the dog owned by a vet demonstrates how horrendous this condition is, and that prompt veterinary care is not always successful. We were indeed fortunate when it happened here - my vet lives nearby, and twice saved Cassie. No wonder his hair is gray!:) I hope I never have to go through it again, but once experienced, never forgotten.
My suggestions would be to re-evaluate your dog's diet and its management, and to check with the breeder of you dog about family history. No family history does not mean it cannot happen. Those of us who have been through this horror know what Tracy is going through. Tracy and her puppy will be in our thoughts, and we all hope that everything will be okay.



Bloat, seventh installment
Mon, 26 Feb 1996 11:08:28 -0500

There's been a lot of good information on the list regarding bloat, and I'm not sure I can add anything to much of it. The information on the Dane page is also very good. To those of you considering purchasing the bloat kits, I'd just like to add a word of caution-- you can do serious damage to your dog if the tube and/or trocar are not used properly. If you decide to get these kits, I'd suggest that you take the kit, the dog and yourself to your veterinarian for instruction on how to properly tube a dog (you can get the tube measured and marked at that time) and how (and when) to use the trocar. I don't feel that the instructions on the dane page are sufficient for someone who has never tubed an animal before (what is "some resistance"?). Aggressive attempts to tube a dog can result in tears in the esophagus and/or stomach. Also, don't think that a garden hose can be substituted for the stomach tube--a hose is far too rigid and the ends too sharp to allow for safe passage into the stomach (the story of the guy who put 5 holes in the esophagus and one in the stomach using a garden hose comes to mind). Regarding trocarization--this is an ultimate last ditch effort to buy time, and it should not be approached lightly. A badly distended stomach may rupture on piercing by the trocar. Alternatively, if torsion is present, the trocar may enter a displaced and enlarged spleen rather than the stomach--this will be come obvious when, instead of gas, blood surges from the hub of the trocar. Also, I disagree with the instruction to compress the stomach of a trocarized dog--too much compression may result in a stomach rupture. My point is not to dissuade anyone from using these kits; I just think that you should understand the possible hazards involved. Ideally, everyone considering using the tube should have the opportunity to pass a stomach tube on a normal animal so that the amount of resistance normally present is understood. Lacking a "hands on" practice, at least discuss the issue with your veterinarian so that you have a better idea of what to expect should you need to ever use the tube.
I want to reiterate what others have said--not all dogs show the same signs of bloat. When in doubt, assume the worst and see a veterinarian.



Bloat, eighth (final) installment
Mon, 26 Feb 1996 11:08:32 -0500

To add to what Pat and Judi stated--bloat is a painful, ugly and EXPENSIVE condition. Treatment of a bloat case could well cost several hundred dollars and there is no guarantee that you'll have a living dog to take home after all of that. The worst case I saw was a GSD whose final bill was over $5000 due to several complications. This was at a veterinary teaching hospital (I was a student assigned to his case). The clinicians were able to "absorb" $2500 as "teaching costs," but it still cost the owners a lot of money--the dog survived the bloat, surgery and all the complications, but managed to get hit by a car 6 months after his release from the hospital.
Complications from bloat are common and often life-threatening. Substances released by dying stomach cells can cause severe heart problems several days after the initial crisis. Resection of dead stomach tissue is often tricky, as oftentimes tissue that looks viable at surgery dies several days later, resulting in breakdown of the stomach wall. Infection is always a threat, even in the "cleanest" of surgeries. Severe bloat restricts blood flow to and from the heart, occasionally resulting in kidney problems due to poor perfusion. Does this mean you shouldn't treat your dog if he bloats? Not at all. I've watched the survival rates go from 30% (when I graduated vet school an eon ago) to over 60%. But, you must be prepared for the fact that not all dogs treated for bloat (and torsion) survive. The decision as to whether to treat must be made with the above complications in mind. A responsible veterinarian will lay it all out for you and leave the (agonizing) decision to you. I agree with Pat an Judi that you can often get better bloat care at an emergency clinic than at a regular practitioner--since the emergency clinic veterinarians see far more cases than do the practitioners (Murphy's law that dogs don't bloat during regular office hours). When I was in practice, I saw only a couple of cases at the clinic where I was employed during the week, but I got most of my experience (mostly bad, sorry to say) with bloat at the emergency clinic where I did relief work on the weekends. Bloat is a horrible condition. I hope that those of you on Newf-l never experience it. But knowing it exists is important, since early detection increases the odds of successful outcomes.

Sharon and KC (another breed predisposed to this ugly condition)


BERNER-L Digest 279

Bloat Study - Morris Animal Foundation
molly bass
Mon, 15 Apr 96 11:17:41 EDT

I just received the Animal News from the Morris Animal Foundation and there is an interesting article on

new findings about bloat. With our recent discussions, I contacted the Foundation and have received permission to republish this on berner-l. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BLOAT OR FOR A COPY OF THIS ARTICLE, CALL 1-800-243-2345. She is sending me additional notes on bloat that were not published in this particular article.


Taken from the Animal News, Volume I 1996. Printed by the Morris Animal Foundation * 45 Inverness Drive East, Englewood, Colorado 80112-5480. (303) 790-2345 or (800) 243-2345.

Bloat in Dogs

New Study Results

Canine gastric dilatation-volvulus (CGDV) is the medical term for bloat. Bloat is caused by a rapid accumulation of gas in the stomach. The stomach expands to its maximum capacity then may twist if the pressure is not relieved. The expanded stomach compresses vital organs causing shock, and if not treated the dog usually dies.

Lawrence T. Glickman, VMD, PhD, and co-investigators Gary C. Lantz, DVM,and William R. Widmer,

DVM, have competed Phase I and Phase II of a long-term study at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine entitled "Epidemiology of Canine Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus."

Phase I focused on identifying risk factors that predispose a dog to bloat. Comparisons of 1,934 dogs

(bloat cases) and 3,868 non-bloat dogs (controls) showed that breed does play an inmportant role in the risk of bloat. Dog breeds whose conformation is characterized by deep and narrow chests are more likely to bloat. The highest risk of bloat among the 17 breeds studied through radiographs and other measurements was found in Great Danes, Saint Bernards, and Weimaraners. The lowest risk was found in cocker spaniels, miniature poodles, and Golden retrievers.

The investigators ranked 24 breeds according to their risk and developed hypothesis regarding the role

of chest conformation, addressed in Phase II.

Phase II encompassed four objectives:

to compare bloat risk for individual dog breeds with indices of chest morphometry (depth, width,
length) and dog height;

to characterize the patterns of inheritance of bloat in several high-risk breeds;
to identify and test specific hypothesis regarding diet, management and environmental factors that
precipitate acute bloat episodes;

to identify prognostic factors for survival and recurrence following an acute bloat episode. The major findings of this study were that the yearly incidence of bloat in high-risk breeds such as the
Irish setter is as high as 2 percent per year of life. This means that if the average lifespan of the Irish setter is 12 years, the probability that any Irish setter will bloat in its lifetime is approximately 25 percent. The lifetime incidence of bloat in giant breeds such as the Great Dane and the Saint Bernard is likely to be even higher.

Thirty percent of dogs with bloat died within seven days in this case study. Dogs that could not walk

upon arrival to a veterinary clinic or those with stomach tissue already dying were more likely to die. The

which elapsed from the onset of clinical signs to the dog being treated was not related to prognosis. Approximately 9 percent of dogs that survived a bloat episode and were discharged had a recurrence of
bloat during the next 12 months. Dogs that did not have a gastropexy procedure (surgery which attaches the stomach to the lining of the abdominal cavity to prevent further twisting) at the time of the episode were 14 times more likely to have a recurrence than dogs that underwent the surgical procedure.

The probability of bloat occurrence is related to a dog's thoracic or abdominal conformation. In Irish

setters, dogs with the highest thoracic depth/width ratio were 5.5 times more likely to bloat than dogs with a lower ratio. In Great Danes, dogs with the highest thoracic depth/width ratio were 8 times more likely to bloat than dogs with a lower ratio. Studies of two Irish setter families with a high incidence of bloat suggested that an incompletely dominant major gene and a background of minor genes and environmental fators determine the thoracic depth/width ratio, and that this in turn influences a dog's lifetime risk of bloat.

A nationwide case-control study identified several host (dog) and environmental factors which appear to

increase the risk of bloat:

decreased consumption of canned dog food (consumption of dry dog food, the amount of dry food consumed or failure to moisten dry food before feeding did not appear to increase the risk of bloat),
fewer meals per day,
fewer snacks between meals,
increased rate (speed) of eating,
a dog's personality or disposition characterized by the owner as fearful or aggressive to other dogs and
people. In contrast, dogs that were characterized as happy and easygoing were at a decreased risk of bloat. The investigators have noted that analysis of risk factors is still in progress and a detailed report is forthcoming.

The Foundation extends special thanks to those individuals and organizations who have co-sponsored

these important bloat studies with Morris Animal Foundation: Fred and Jean Meyer Jr. Bloat Challenge, Irish Setter Club of America, Western Irish Setter Club, and Hoosier Kennel Club.

This year, Dr. Glickman's study of bloat continues focusing on risk factors for these nine high-risk

breeds: Great Dane, Irish setter, Saint Bernard, standard poodle, akita, bloodhound, collie, Irish wofhound, and rottweiler. This Foundation-sponsored study is supported by the AKC Canine Health Foundation, Pam Green in memory of Chelsea, and the Mark L. Morris Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of Anne Rogers Clark.


I found this very interesting and was also pleased to see that berners were not one of the high risk breeds.

Plus, the happy, easygoing disposition is also encouraging!

Molly, Bogen, and Bianca
Charlottesville, VA


BERNER-L Digest 295

Heidi Bloated! Need Advice!
Wed, 1 May 1996 18:23:55 -0400

Well, we had a lovely time at the Specialty only to return to find that Heidi had bloated the day we returned in the kennel. What a shock to go to pick up your dog and to be told there was a problem...this is something that happens to other people's dogs, not your own. She's fine now but I'll tell you what happened. On Friday they said she was acting a bit frantic and was running a temp. They were going to take her to the vet, but then she calmed down and her temp returned to normal. On Tuesday about 2:00 p.m. they went out to the kennel to check on the dogs only to find Heidi drooling and foaming all over herself. Sue (the kennel owner) took one look at her, first checked her tonsils to see it that was the problem, and when it wasn't rushed her to the vet. She was showing no signs of stomach distention at this point. The vet palpated her and could feel her stomach was a hard ball. They pumped her stomach (lots of gas and lots of water) and took x- rays to see if she had torsioned. The x-rays appeared to show a torsion, but were inconclusive. They let her come home with us with strict instructions to watch her very, very carefully. At the first sign of any vomiting, signs of distress such as pacing or rapid panting, drooling, etc we were to call the vet any time of night. No water, no food. She seemed okay except that she just wanted to lay out in the yard flat on her back, stretched fully out. She was dying of thirst and would lead us to every available water source in the house looking up at us as if to say "Don't you get it? I need water!" Poor baby. We crated her when we went to bed right next to us so we would hear her if she needed help. She didn't sleep, panted (due to lack of water) but made it through the night just fine.
This morning the vet did a barium work-up and more x-rays just to be sure there was no torsion involved. There wasn't, and her stomach was back to normal. GOOD NEWS! However, they tell us that we should have her stomach tacked now just in case this happens again (which it is very likely to). What do other people think about tacking stomachs proactively? We are under the impression that this is something we should do, but would like to hear other people's thoughts who may have been through the same thing. What are your thoughts?
We enjoyed the Specialty and seeing so many gorgeous dogs and meeting some of our fellow berner-lers. I would have liked to meet more, but somehow the days were hectic and they passed all too quickly. Indy had a great time! The Sierra West club did a wonderful job of organization and put on a great Specialty! We have our work cut out for us next year, that's for sure!


Rick & Lynne Robinson
Indy, Heidi, Two-shoes, and Vincent
Fort Collins, Colorado
(970) 226-0901


BERNER-L Digest 298

Re: New Member - With a Question (cathy burlile )
Sat, 4 May 1996 20:48:44 -0700

>I am a new member who owns a 1 yr 9 mo old Berner female (Anka). I was previously a Golden Retriever

owner (still love the breed), but after losing my last retriever to cancer, I decided to try the Berner breed. She is everything I hoped for - laying right here by me as I type this message. ***Welcom to the list and now the bad news......there's cancer in Berners too :(

>Which leads me to my question - at a recent dog show out in Leesburg, Virginia - where there were many

Berners shown, a Bernese owner in passing mentioned that her last Bernese had passed away (at the age of 10, which is at least is a good life span) from a stomach disorder - she either used the word "distorted" or "contorted" ***The word you probably heard was torsion (twisting). This is a common phrase used to describe Gastric Dilation Volvulous (GDV/Bloat). The description that you gave that follows sounds like a classic case of bloat/torsion.

Has anyone heard of such a thing? 2) I feed Anka twice a day, in the morning and at night. Should I feed her only once at night? What is the common practice out there in regard to feeding schedules? ***According to a study on bloat being conducted by Dr. Larry Glickman, DVM, it is advised to feed large, bloat-suseptible breeds frequent small meals and treats or snacks. Here at our house, dogs get fed am and pm. I have an 8 1/2 yo male Berner that bloated right before his 4th birthday. He has been feed four SMALL meals daily since that time and has never had a problem again. I hope this answers your questions. When it comes to Bloat, there are more questions than answers at the moment. Hopefully this ongoing study will clear up some of the muddy waters for all us big dog lovers :)
Cathy, Memories BMDs


BERNER-L Digest 299

Surgery to prevent bloat.
Edward McHale
Sun, 05 May 1996 19:33:39 -0700

-- Lynne Robinson asked for advice about whether Heidi should have surgery to have her stomach tacked to

the chances of gastric dilation-volvulus syndrome with torsion (torsion bloat). We had a similar problem with our first Berner, Quincy, who bloated at the age of seven months. We
took him to the emergency animal clinic since it happened late at night. Like with Heidi, the X-Rays were inconclusive. Quincy was released to his regular vet for another 24 hours of observation. The partner of this vet, a surgeon, told the vet we had been seeing to tell us to have the surgery and that the surgeon would do it for a thousand dollars. When we had questions, he couldn't answer them, and his partner (the surgeon) would not condescend to talk with us, we hesitated. We were concerned about how the operation would be affected by our puppy's rapid growth. Quincy's bloat episode started with him swallowing some tissues that he stole from a pocket pack.

It seemed that the surgeon was more concerned with the $1000 dollars than with us. We thought that if

we were super diligent about keeping Quincy from swallowing any foreign materials, that it probably wouldn't occur again. Wrong! Six weeks later another emergency room visit! This time the vet on duty was more knowledgeable than the ones we had seen before. He told that it will keep happening unless the surgery was done. He referred us to another vet that was a board certified surgeon.

We made an appointment to discuss the X-rays from the emergency room visits and the ramifications of

the surgery. The surgeon spent about an hour with us, made copies of textbook information for us to take with us, and explained to us that Quincy had a fold in his fundus (part of the stomach) probably from the first bloating episode. He also said that Quincy probably had a congenital modality problem with his intestinal tract. It was not contracting like it should. Quincy most likely would always be on medication to help his digestive tract work.

The surgery was scheduled. Quincy came through the operation o.k. It is really extensive surgery.

After six weeks of healing, Quincy was allowed to return to all normal activities, including obedience class. A week after returning to obedience class he died of Parvo even though his vaccinations were up to date. The bloating traumas and the surgery weakened his immune system. His congenital modality problem made it impossible for him to survive the Parvo. He died on his first birthday.

We would advise you to have the surgery done, but check your dog's titer count to make sure there is

enough protection against Parvo.

Joann & Ed McHale
Loudonville, NY


BERNER-L Digest 384

Frankie Rubel
Tue, 30 Jul 1996 11:28:56 -0400

Our Matt is in the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital after suffering bloat. His stomach and spleen are unharmed and came through this morning's surgery well. He is in intensive care recovering.
Please direct some good thoughts towards Philadelphia. He needs all he can get.

Frankie Rubel (home) (work)


BERNER-L Digest 385

Frankie Rubel
Wed, 31 Jul 1996 22:24:58 -0400

Thanks to everyone for all the loving thoughts. They helped make us feel like we weren't alone. Matt is doing well, and we hope he'll be home tomorrow.
I was asked what the circumstances were around the time when Matt had the problem. I unfortunately don't have a clue. There was nothing out of the normal routine. He and Lark both eat once a day, and usually around 9 or 9:30 PM. They don't eat as much in the summer, and are not too active that late, other than wondering around the yard.
The bloat was discovered around 1:45 AM. Luckily my son (Drew) went to bed late and was suspicious of Matt's behavior. We lost a dog 3 years ago to bloat, so we knew what the problem was. That knowlege helped us know to get help quick.
Not knowing what happened to cause the condition, we are going to try a little different approach to feeding. We're going to feed a couple of times a day in smaller quantities, making sure to soak the food. We're hoping that will help.
Any more suggestions?
Frankie, Betty, Drew, Lindsay, Matt, Lark and Autumn Rubel (home) (work)


BERNER-L Digest 386

Andrea Madeley
Fri, 02 Aug 1996 13:03:36 +0930

What a frightening thing to have happen Frankie. I hope that Matt is OK and will be thinking of him... A couple of suggestions for you...try putting Matt's food bowl on a small bucket [upturned] or a crate with a lip...this apparently helps them to stop gulping the food down. I think our beloved breed are just plain greedy eaters [well, most are] and feeding them smaller meals more often also makes sense...I must admit, I do this and always have for fear of the dreaded bloat.

Good Luck Matt...

"Andrea Madeley" & The "Aari" dog that ate a rabitt whole once [a skinned one of course, he's not totally barbaric!].......
South OZ


BERNER-L Digest 387

Re: Bloat (susan ablon)
Fri, 2 Aug 1996 06:24:08 -0500 (CDT)

>I think our beloved breed are just plain greedy eaters [well, most are] and feeding them smaller meals

more often also makes sense...I must admit, I do this and always have for fear of the dreaded bloat.

Unfortunately there is not always a correlation between eating and bloat. It is of course a good idea to feed 2-3 times a day and raise the food bowl however this alone will not prevent bloat. My last round of bloat occured in the middle of the day 4 hours after eating when I got home from work. The dogs had been inside sleeping and had had nothing to eat. It is my belief that in the excitement of the moment a large amount of air was gulped and water was drunk which set up the situation. I now prevent this dog from getting too excited calming him immediately after I get home and preventing gulping water at any time. So far by adding extra digestive enzymes watching for excess excitement and making sure everyone is completely calm before meals has been effective. We did not have the surgery(various reasons) and knock on wood no further gastric dilation.

Gweebarra Bernese


Re: Bloat
Fri, 02 Aug 1996 09:19:23 -0400

At 06:24 AM 8/2/96 -0500, susan ablon wrote:
>>I think our beloved breed are just plain greedy eaters [well, most are] and feeding them smaller meals more often also makes sense...I must admit, I do this and always have for fear of the dreaded bloat.

The only Berner that I've had that bloated was a 10 month old bitch. She had been fed the MORNING prior to the incident, out all day in the run, put in a crate for the night and came out of the crate in the morning with bloat. No, she didn't eat the mat. She died on the way to the Vets. This proved to me that it is not necessarily food related.
I fed Vit C to one puppy that I bred and kept. At 8 months old he had dysplasia with such bad shoulders and elbows that I had to put him down. This is also the only dog I've ever had to put down for HD/ED/OCD. Since that time I wouldn't give Vit. C if my (and especially the dog's) life depended on it. My dogs eat a hearty diet of dead of voles (moles) that the cats bring to the porch with no side effects. They have also been known to eat dead birds, chipmunks, squirrels, mice and numerous large insects of unknown pedigrees.


Beverly H. Barney, Nordstaaten Farm, Lyme, NH USA Where it's now August to be followed by two weeks of damn poor sledding, then - Winter.


BERNER-L Digest 443

They are DOGS not wolves!
"Sharyl L. Mayhew"
Sat, 28 Sep 1996 23:49:33 -0400 (EDT)

Lisa wrote:
> Do not mean to upset anyone, but when was the last time you saw a wolf eating off a table. (I feed a high quality dog food and my dog's dishes are on the floor when they eat).

Not upsetting at all, but I would like to add a little about comparing dogs to wolves. Berners and Swissies and Great Danes and St. Bernards are not wolves (nor horses) and they are not bred by Natural Selection as wolves are or do. Since these purebred dogs are bred for other purposes and style and appearance we must take with it some responsibilities to provide for what "nature" would have avoided -- Such as too big (there are few wild canids/wolves that weigh 100+lbs), too tall, too deep a chest, too inclined to bloat, or in other breeds too small, too much muzzle, too little muzzle etc. Otherwise, we could just wait for all of our dogs to live to be 8 or so before we breed them as then we could be reasonably sure that they won't bloat (at least not young). But then again, I don't know how many litters we would get out of 8 year old bitches. mmmmm

Generally we feed them on elevated surfaces to try to keep them from gulping air (a possible contributing factor to bloat). I have seen several Swissies who were fed dry kibble in a bowl that also contained a LARGE round river rock so as to slow them down and make them pick up the food with their lips and front teeth and not gulp it. Anything that you can do to help prevent bloat seems like a good idea to me. Furthermore, I wouldn't tempt fate (and/or breed predisposition) by running my dogs for a mile (like a wolf might do to find something to eat/kill) and then feeding a large quantity of food on the ground (to the point of saturation like a wolf would do -also I don't have access to freshly killed game to feed them, do you think someone will manufacture it in 40 lb bags for me) and then wait until they vomitted most of the meal that they had gorged on and watch them re-eat it (like wolves usually do especially when feeding their young) and then not feed them again for 3-4 days (like a wolf has to do) and still wait to see whether they could handle this kind of life for very long (most wolves in the wild live approx 5-6 years - if they are lucky, read that in Smithsonian Magazine).
I find it safer and easier to put their bowls on the upturned side of a five-gallon bucket and let them eat. They spend plenty of time sniffing the ground to (as you mentioned) "allow respiratory secretions to drain" if they need to have this happen, since they are built very differently from horses - but I am sure you don't want me to list the differences there, right?

Just a thought or two.......



Behavior which is reinforced will be repeated -- Behavior which is ignored will be extinquished! Precious Dog Training & Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs

date:   30-Sep-2003

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