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Bloat Reference Guide you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file

Thanks to  Linda Nothelfer - Adorah Afghan Hounds US for kindly providing us with this guide.  Please feel free to print this off for reference

THE KC/BSAVA SEMINAR held at HATFIELD  November 3.2002


 Whilst the serious  condition of BLOAT  fortunately does not effect the AFGHAN HOUND, despite its anatomical make up, to such a degree as some of the other deep-chested breeds. This very serious condition has been recorded within our breed, indeed articles have been written, specifically in the Western Club magazine. A few years back, Carol Hill & Diana Greenfield wrote of their experiences, indeed  following the death of her young bitch with Bloat, Diana  did a  mini-survey  with  quite an interesting response .I am aware of both  Afghan Hounds & Borzois who  have  succumbed to the condition and others who have survived with surgery. Some very relevant points were made at this  seminar & whilst we still do not know WHY it happens, with  advances in surgical treatment and management in more recent years, the survival rate is now  around 80 per cent. The emphasis is still on how QUICKLY the condition is picked up. WHY it happens  may elude us but it is known that there does appear to be some pointers toward a FAMILIAL pattern

The contributory factor of STRESS is still considered a high risk in such predisposed animals. Another thing of interest, the WEATHER! bio-metrological events. (heat humidity & thunderstorms!)

 Single Food Source is associated with increased risk. We were advised on food variation, the spacing of meals and to  feed larger particles. Dogs should be made to use their JAWs!  less soft slop food!

 Whilst the condition was said to be rare in  the YOUNG dog, it is now being treated in an increasing number of younger dogs in all breeds. Possibly there is a greater awareness, hence dogs being brought  in quicker and hence the increase in the survival rates 

A question from the audience, regarding feeding from a raised surface. No evidence either way to suggest this may aid prevention but most of the audience with large breed dogs agreed that this was the way the majority fed their dogs from a breed conformation and comfort reasons  

The following is an extract from the print out that was given on this presentation by ED HALL who is Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Internal Medicine at Bristol Vet School. A particularly good speaker, Dr Hall has a particular interest in gastroenterology. Following a spell at the University of Pennsylvania and then at Liverpool, where  he did some research into  gluten-sensitivity in Irish Setters, his current research interests include gastro-intestinal disease in the German Shepherd Dog and Inflammatory Bowel Disease



GDV is one of the true emergencies of small animal practice requiring prompt and vigorous treatment if it is not to be fatal. Advances in management have improved survival rates from below 60 percent to 80 percent upwards within the last decade. However numerous myths about GDV exist whilst the reason(s) why it happens and the methods to prevent it continue to elude us despite  many hypotheses

 We know that some (not all) deep chested breeds are susceptible. There may be familial background. It is unclear whether predisposition to GDV itself is inherited or whether it is merely a reflection of the dog's conformation and lifestyle.I t is usually an acquired disease of older dogs. GDV in the younger dog is possibly related to congenital defects in the ligamentous attachments of the stomach. The acute form begins with bloating, either from swallowed air or fermentation of stomach contents 

Chronic torsions may occur without bloating, following relaxation of  gastric ligaments

Whilst megasophagus is a disease commonly recognised in the same breeds as  GDV, (specifically in the German Shepherd Dog) there is NO clear association of GDV secondary to primary megaoesophagus. Nevertheless dogs with GDV often develop secondary oesophageal problems

 The bloated stomach has a natural tendency to twist, leading to cardiovascular compromise, shock, and death

Historical factors such as exercise, temperament, speed of eating, gender, and neutering are now considered to be unimportant.

Whilst body weight, chest conformation, once daily feeding, kennelling, climatic factors, fearful disposition, and car journeys are known precipitating factors

 A dry diet has been incriminated but may be an innocent factor as a number of the affected breeds are  frequently fed such diets for economic/convenience reasons. Indeed a diet containing  large particle size may be protective. 

It is agreed that aggressive  fluid therapy, and gastric decompression are CRUCIAL steps in emergency treatment, but what constitutes the best surgical approach is confused by ancedotal reports of splenic and pyloric surgery affecting the long term outcome. Further more,there are numerous methods of fixing the stomach anatomically (known as Gastroplexy). Which method is best is debated by surgeons, but it is clear that gastroplexy is important in REDUCING, although not abolishing, recurrence.....unquote

 Other gastric problems mentioned included GASTRIC ULCERs. Whilst rare in the dog, with the exception  following the use of non-steroidal (asprin like) anti-inflammatory medicines frequently prescribed for arthritic conditions in dogs. Whilst some NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) are safer than others, they ALL have the potential to cause  internal bleeding with serious consequences. Any Long term use of  the non-steroidal drugs  must be accompanied with gastroprotectant drugs and this also applies to  steroid  medication frequently prescribed for the treatment of auto-immune conditions

The rarity of spontaneous  gastric ulcers in dogs is perhaps surprising given that the canine frequently harbours a similar gastric infection with spiral bacteria (helicobacter) to man, in whom these organisms have been incriminated as causing gastritis, ulcers and even gastric tumours

 Malignant gastric tumours are rare in the dog, which is fortunate as they are almost invariably fatal 



Many thanks to Sylvia Evans for this article

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