Attempt to keep your feeding schedule and diet as close to normal as possible when you are travelling with your dog. Changing the type of food or amount of food may have deleterious effects. This can also be a problem if your dogs are kennelled while you are away. Many veterinarians report a higher incidence of GDV among dogs that are in boarding kennels. This is probably due in part to changes in feeding regimen and may be compounded by stress in dogs that do not adapt well to kennel situations.
Survival rate following surgery is about 90% of the stomach is not devitalized. If a portion of the stomach has died off, the survival rate is about 50%, in spite of medical and surgical treatment.
Dogs with bloat typically will show signs of discomfort and stomach distress. They may vomit or try to by retching. Sometimes this retching, or nonproductive vomit, looks like a cough or gag. The vomiting is nonproductive especially after the stomach has twisted. The dog will seem uncomfortable and it will get up and down, pace, and may roll around trying to relieve the pressure and discomfort in its stomach.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnum's Story

Magnum

If you own a Berner, you no doubt have heard the term "bloat" or Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV). Most will regard it with some fear and will have read about it when researching getting a puppy. But how much do you really know about it and if your Berner is older (or you are on your 3rd, 4th, or 10th Berner) how much do you remember of what you learned early on? And what new research might have come along since then? And most importantly how prepared are you if it happens to your beloved dog?

Our first Berner, Magnum, experienced a life threatening bloat this last May 2005, and I'll admit that we were very lucky to have saved him. I don't ever want to rely on that much luck again, and now we are much better prepared in case it ever happens again. I want to share our story in case it helps another family to save a beloved Berner. My goal is not to educate you about bloat as much as it is to remind you to keep educated and to be prepared as you will need to react quickly. There is a wealth of information available via the internet (see the links to the right) and it is important for you to consult with your regular vet on the specifics regarding your dog. It is also critical for you to really know your dog and to act when they just "don't seem right" to you.

Our story began at the end of a typical day when Steve took Magnum out for a final potty before bed. Magnum got up and went down a short flight of stairs and outside looking perfectly normal. A few minutes later they came back in the house and Steve yelled for me because something "wasn't right" with Magnum. I rushed to the entryway to see Magnum looking quite panicked and pacing. A few minutes later he was blowing large bubbles out of his mouth and having a bit of trouble walking. I called the emergency vet clinic (luckily we had the number right next to the phone – I still had to dial 3 times because I was so nervous) and they told me to get him in right away. We left the house within a couple of minutes and arrived at the clinic about 15 minutes later. Always call first – the clinic needs to be ready for you upon arrival.

At first Magnum was sitting in my lap in the backseat of the car and later he decided to lay down next to me with his head in my lap looking up at me with a look of "help me". Somehow I was able to hold it together and not cry and pretend to be calm while I was talking to him and petting him. I think this is very important. If at all possible have 2 people take the dog to the clinic – 1 to drive and the other to sit with the dog and try to keep it calm. I truly believe that if the person who can be with the dog is the "alpha" in your "pack" your chances are much better of saving the dog.

The clinic was ready and waiting for us at the door and took him immediately to x-ray. The x-ray confirmed a bloat with a complete rotation of the stomach. We were told we had about 5-10 minutes to either get him prepped for surgery or to put him down. We got a very quick yet professional description of the risks and possibilities of what else could go wrong or be found during the surgery and an estimate of the cost for the immediate care ($3000) and a rough ballpark for further follow-up afterward ($500). I mention these costs so you have something to think about before it happens – there is no time to consult with anyone on if you can afford this or not when it is happening.

We opted for surgery and gastroplexy (tacking the stomach to the abdominal wall) to prevent the torsion from happening again. Magnum recovered from the surgery quickly and was rapidly back to his usual self. Unfortunately we lost Magnum just 10 months later to hemangiosarcoma but we wouldn't have given up those 10 months with him for anything.

I offer here a quick list of things to consider in order to be prepared in case of a bloat in your Berner.?

Bloat Preparedness Checklist In memory of J And N Magnum (1998-2006)