2. DON’T Ignore Bloat
Tom Dock is the practice manager for Noah’s Caring Hands Animal Hospital in Indianapolis. He notes that a number of intestinal issues for dogs—including many parasites—are non-emergencies, but bloat is one clear sign that something more serious is going on.
Rutter agrees. “If there’s bloat, you need to come in right away,” she says.
Why? When an animal’s stomach bloats, it presses against organs, Rutter says. The swelling can also make it hard for the pet to breathe, and can sometimes lead to a condition called gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), which causes the patient’s stomach to twist, trapping blood and preventing it from flowing back to the heart.
Bloat often occurs after eating an abnormally large meal, and it can come on quickly. It might seem like a normal full belly at first, but bloat is not to be messed with. Since it can be such a detrimental condition, owners should be familiar with a few of the clinical signs of bloat: trouble breathing, distended abdomen, pacing/inability to get comfortable when lying down, repeated vomiting, and/or retching with no vomit production.