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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Earlier this year I lost my German shepherd to GDV. It happened late at night, and since she was older and had other health issues, the vet said her chances of surviving the operation were basically zero, so we put her down.
About four weeks ago I adopted a rescue malinois. She is about two years old. I am super paranoid about this whole GDV think. I never experienced it before my GSD, as I only owned small dogs before. After eating I always crate Ursa, because she is always very active, even after eating. Sometimes she stays quiet on her dog bed but then she wants to play and I kind of freak out and get her to calm down.
I think I might be overreacting, but the shock of loosing my GSD (only had her for about four months, she was an older rescue) so suddenly still kinds of haunts me, and I do not want that to happen again.
Any thoughts? Ursa is only my second dog were GDV is a risk. How long should she be still after eating? Should I crate her, or is she okay walking around the house? I understand there is no real cause, but any other pointers would be much appreciated. Thanks!
 

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I'd feed smaller, more frequent, meals rather then one or two large ones. I know one of our members, @StormyPeak , gives her dog something to prevent gas which is one of the culprits of GDV. Other then that I think no one knows if it's best to feed using an elevated feeder or feed at floor level, or if it's best to feed moistened kibble or dry kibble.

From what I understand they can tack the stomach to the abdominal wall to prevent it from flipping.
 
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Malinois aren't a high risk breed for GDV but yes, you can have a prophylactic stomach tack (gastropexy) done. If worrying you is causing this much distress it may be worth it. Many surgeons can do it with laproscopically these days so recovery is really quick.
 

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Eating slow, smaller more frequent meals, rest before and after meals. You can also consider feeding a non-kibble diet. Home cooked, commercial or home-prepared raw, or some kind of dehydrated/freeze-dried food that you reconstitute before feeding (like Sojos). Kibble expands in the stomach which can increase bloat risk.

I have a GSD and have never honestly been worried about bloat. She's never had an issue. I don't do anything to restrict her before or after. But we do feed raw and have for almost 8 years now.

You can also ask about a gastropexy, which is a procedure where they tack the stomach to the abdominal wall. This doesn't prevent bloat, but it does prevent the stomach from twisting (gastric torsion). Bloat alone can be fixed. If the stomach twists, it's often game over. The surgery is routinely done where I work on great danes during their spay/neuter. I've never seen it done on a GSD that hadn't already bloated.
 

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As Rain mentioned, I have a dog that has problems with stomach gas, he's a Golden Retriever, named HaHa, and that breed is listed high on the list of dogs that are susceptible to bloat.

My vet recommended giving him Gas X (simethicone) if I saw any signs of distress. It's a fairly inexpensive pill you can buy in most grocery stores.

I can't afford to run him to the vet every single time I see he's acting odd after eating...sometimes I think he eats a little fast or got a little too much to eat, and he will start walking around, like he's restless and I'll notice him making gulping or swallowing motions. I will give him 1 or sometimes 2 pills and keep an eye on him for the next four or five minutes and massage his back, ribs and belly waiting for a burp.

So far, so good...he's always been able to get a small burp out then soon afterwards (like in a few mintues) a bigger one. The day he doesn't burp for me after being given one of those pills...I'll be out the door with him in a New York second, and to the vets.

I would love to have HaHa's stomach stabled to his rib to prevent it from ever twisting...but it's a little out of my price range at the moment - although my vet is Dirt Cheap on her pricing. She told me she can do it for about $250 to $300 dollars. I read on the internet that most vets charge $1,500 or so. But then, too, my vet is in a very small town and doesn't have the ultra expensive diagnostic equipment like up to date vets often do in big cities.

Anyway...sorry to hear you lost a dog in such a way. I don't know how the German Shepherd breed is in general when it comes to this problem, but from what I understand, dog breed that have deep chests, and 'tucked up' bellies, like greyhounds, great danes, golden retrievers are the ones who tend to bloat.

I have an Australian shepherd mix,...she has kind of a nice blocky rectangular body, I've never seen her in distress after eating...and I think she sucks up the food faster than HaHa does. The thing with Jaya, I rarely hear her burp...but HaHa...he belches every time after he eats....with a few burps afterwards. I Love to hear him belch and burp...to me this is good...he's releasing that pressure from his belly. And if he doesn't burp...the Gas x pills are there to help.

It might be your dog will be more like Jaya and not bothered by gas build up. I think you just need to keep an eye (and ear) on him after he eats...watch for signs of bloat.

As for HaHa and the food he gets. I feed him pretty small meals of dry kibble...and he gets feed often....it's more like he snacks all day long. However his morning meal and his last meal of the night are slightly larger. For the morning and evening meal, because he is getting a little bit more food, I do soak it for about 15 to 20 minutes so his tummy doesn't have to deal with doing it and hopefully that keeps the gas levels down. He weighs around 65 pounds and gets about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of kibble a day. I also don't use a raised platform to feed him as I'm not totally convinced they help.

I do allow HaHa to move around after eating....but I don't let him get jumping, running or excited for a while after eating....same with before eating...I want him calm and not panting from playing or being too hot.

Hope some of that info helps. I think smaller meals, keeping some Gas X (simethicone) on hand and just being aware of your dog's behavior after eating are important. Please confirm with your own vet though about giving your dog any drugs...and talk to your vet about your concerns...as he/she maybe just by looking your dog's body structure or even with x rays might be able to determine if it's body type makes him more susceptible to bloat.

Stormy
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As Rain mentioned, I have a dog that has problems with stomach gas, he's a Golden Retriever, named HaHa, and that breed is listed high on the list of dogs that are susceptible to bloat.

My vet recommended giving him Gas X (simethicone) if I saw any signs of distress. It's a fairly inexpensive pill you can buy in most grocery stores.

I can't afford to run him to the vet every single time I see he's acting odd after eating...sometimes I think he eats a little fast or got a little too much to eat, and he will start walking around, like he's restless and I'll notice him making gulping or swallowing motions. I will give him 1 or sometimes 2 pills and keep an eye on him for the next four or five minutes and massage his back, ribs and belly waiting for a burp.

So far, so good...he's always been able to get a small burp out then soon afterwards (like in a few mintues) a bigger one. The day he doesn't burp for me after being given one of those pills...I'll be out the door with him in a New York second, and to the vets.

I would love to have HaHa's stomach stabled to his rib to prevent it from ever twisting...but it's a little out of my price range at the moment - although my vet is Dirt Cheap on her pricing. She told me she can do it for about $250 to $300 dollars. I read on the internet that most vets charge $1,500 or so. But then, too, my vet is in a very small town and doesn't have the ultra expensive diagnostic equipment like up to date vets often do in big cities.

Stormy
I will defiantly talk to my vet about Gas X! Where do you live where your vet is so cheap? My vet said it would cost around $1500, and that is a bit expensive for me at the moment.
Anyway, thanks for all the comments guys. I don't have a problem with her eating to fast (I have to convince her to eat sometimes:eyeroll:)

sassafras, are you sure they aren't at risk? I thought generally all large breed dogs have a risk.
 

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sassafras, are you sure they aren't at risk? I thought generally all large breed dogs have a risk.
Well any dog CAN bloat, and a narrow chest compared to the depth is a risk factor, but there seems to be a big genetic component. There are certain breeds where it is much more common. Years ago weims and Irish setters were notorious although you don't hear so much about them any more. Standard poodles, great danes, GSDs are three of the big ones in more recent years.

There was a review done sometime within the last 5 years or so that evaluated all the things people do in an attempt to prevent it (feeding in relation to exercise, feeding or avoiding certain things like canned or dry food, soy, etc) and there were very few things that correlated. I don't have time to look for it now but as I recall the chest width to depth ratio and I think feeding time in relation to exercise but not much else. I'll see if I can find it later.
 

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I will defiantly talk to my vet about Gas X! Where do you live where your vet is so cheap? My vet said it would cost around $1500, and that is a bit expensive for me at the moment.....
I live in Idaho...a very small town tucked into a valley in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. We are like 160 miles from the nearest interstate.

The vets here, lead pretty simple lives, we have two clinics and one is slightly higher in prices than the vet I use, but they also have newer equipment and a newer building. My vet's building is rather small, the exam table is probably from the early 1970s (has a ceramic looking base with stainless steel top) and the building at one time might have even been a house...but it's been added onto, so it's hard to tell.

I know the x-ray machine and other stuff in there are also older...but they work and I'm more interested in my vet's skills as a surgeon and in figuring out what's wrong with my pets upon exam...and she's been very good in all that.

Since our vets don't seem to be interested in living in McMansions and driving sports cars, I suspect once this generation of vets is gone, and the younger set comes in, all of that will change and this town will be in for a huge sticker shock when they see what the vets who want to make real money in their practices will be charging.

You might shop around for surgery prices if $1500 is too steep...just be sure to get references, or try to get reviews on line of any other vet you go to....or even ask your own vet for a price break. The worse that could happen is your vet will say 'no'.

Otherwise they might be able to shave some off the price. I Know my vet will be making some money doing the operation at $300. She wouldn't do it for free or 'just to cover her costs' She's probably not going to make a lot but I bet even with higher overhead the profit margin most vets make are pretty sweet. Never hurts to try to negotiate a different price for something in a non-emergency state....as most people during an emergency will pay almost anything without thinking about it just to save their pet.

As far as trying to prevent bloat...

I know that never in my whole life with all the dogs I've had...did I ever have to 'burp' a dog like a baby. :p This the one thing I'm always very aware of now though...to be sure that HaHa burps after eating. Sometimes he does small burps and sometimes he lets rip a belch that would put a 250 pound man to shame :) It makes me smile and sometimes laugh but I also know it's serious stuff too.

I don't know if you have noticed that in your dog, but it might be something you start listening for and a short time after he eats, just feel his tummy (to make sure it's not tight and swelled up some) and see if he's behaving normally.

And do check on those Gas x pills...they really do work! Also they are not the same as antacid...which will reduce acids in the tummy but really are not made to help with the gas build up.

Stormy
 

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Since our vets don't seem to be interested in living in McMansions and driving sports cars, I suspect once this generation of vets is gone, and the younger set comes in, all of that will change and this town will be in for a huge sticker shock when they see what the vets who want to make real money in their practices will be charging.

Please don't do this, it's so disappointing to see it here. Vets aren't generally living in McMansions or driving sports cars, and most of them will be paying off student loans for most of their lives.
 

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Hospitalization and surgery for GDV where I work can cost over $2k total. It's very steep because it's a very high risk surgery and intense recovery. When we have bloat dogs, we are doing EKG's to check their heart rate and check for abnormalities every 2 hours the first 24-48 hours after surgery because those next two days are very critical to whether the dog lives or dies The dogs are on multiple different drugs...pain meds, anti-inflammatories, acid-reducers, antibiotics, drugs to settle the stomach, sometimes additives to their IV fluid bags to balance their electrolytes. There are technicians caring for them around the clock.

I find it hard to believe that any vet can get away with charging under $500 without compromising care. Or even under $1k honestly.
 

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Hospitalization and surgery for GDV where I work can cost over $2k total. It's very steep because it's a very high risk surgery and intense recovery. When we have bloat dogs, we are doing EKG's to check their heart rate and check for abnormalities every 2 hours the first 24-48 hours after surgery because those next two days are very critical to whether the dog lives or dies The dogs are on multiple different drugs...pain meds, anti-inflammatories, acid-reducers, antibiotics, drugs to settle the stomach, sometimes additives to their IV fluid bags to balance their electrolytes. There are technicians caring for them around the clock.

I find it hard to believe that any vet can get away with charging under $500 without compromising care. Or even under $1k honestly.
I think they're talking about doing the gastropexy before GDV occurs, would that make a difference in the cost of the surgery? It wouldn't be an emergency, the dog wouldn't be bloated, and the stomach wouldn't be torqued. I can completely understand the cost being over 2k in either case, I just wish human surgery cost so little.
 

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Oh yeah, for a routine prophylactic gastropexy I think it's an extra $300 if you tack it on with the alter. Still under $500 if you do it alone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hospitalization and surgery for GDV where I work can cost over $2k total. It's very steep because it's a very high risk surgery and intense recovery. When we have bloat dogs, we are doing EKG's to check their heart rate and check for abnormalities every 2 hours the first 24-48 hours after surgery because those next two days are very critical to whether the dog lives or dies The dogs are on multiple different drugs...pain meds, anti-inflammatories, acid-reducers, antibiotics, drugs to settle the stomach, sometimes additives to their IV fluid bags to balance their electrolytes. There are technicians caring for them around the clock.

I find it hard to believe that any vet can get away with charging under $500 without compromising care. Or even under $1k honestly.
When my GSD bloated the surgery would have cost us over $5500. The vet advised against it though, because of the health issues.
 
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