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What is the difference between canine bloat...

Resolved • Response time -9 minutes

31 Dec 2009

What is the difference between canine bloat and just plain old indigestion?

My 7-month-old male Standard Schnauzer has a distended tummy, and has been drinking a lot of water this evening. Then he started making little gagging motions, but not really retching. He has been panting a little too. He is in good spirits, and doesn't seem to be in any pain. I gave him some Ovol with simethicone in it, and he has been burping and passing very smelly gas for the past hour. He wanted to go to sleep at his regular bedtime.

I should mention that he got into the garbage today and ate part of a mouldy tomato. I think.
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31 Dec 2009

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Dog Veterinarian's response
31 Dec 2009
Justin
Justin
Veterinarian

Thanks for the question. Bloat and indigestion are very similar. Indigestion is basically an upset stomach (gastritis). This can occur from a dog eating food that doesn't agree with them or from too much stomach acid production. It is generally mild, may be associated with productive vomiting, that subsides over a short period of time. With indigestion the abdomen will not be distended.

Bloat is a build-up of gas in the stomach. Bloat in itself is not generally life threatening. Where we get concerned is when the stomach flips over. We're not sure if the bloat leads to the stomach flipping, or if the stomach flips, then bloat occurs. No matter what happens first, this causes a life threatening condition called gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV). GDV requires immediate emergency intervention or death will occur. Signs of GDV are: distended abdomen, distress, panting, unproductive retching, injected sclera, red gums.

I hope this helps.
31 Dec 2009
Customer reply
31 Dec 2009
So in the absence of pain and distress in the pup, would you say that this is probably NOT a real emergency? I am 90 minutes away from a vet clinic, and it's just about 3 AM here . . . but I would take him into the city if this were a real crisis.
31 Dec 2009
Dog Veterinarian's response
31 Dec 2009
Justin
Justin
It's tough to say. GDV is such a serious condition I would always recommend erring in the side of caution. However, it very rarely occurs in young dogs. If you are going to wait, keep a close eye on him. If he exhibits any of the signs listed above for a GDV get him to the vet right away.
Customer rating:
Justin
Justin
Veterinarian
Avg. question only $19
8+ years of experience in general practice and emergency medicine.
31 Dec 2009
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