Well, news of the five dogs who left with Association Orfee yesterday is trickling in and all seems to be going excellently. There are a couple of photos already of the dogs in their new homes, but I will wait till tomorrow to tell the whole story, as Rebecca has all the photos of the journey and she will write most of the blog, with any luck!
So today I am writing about something far less pleasant. Yesterday morning while cleaning out the pens, Melanie, one of the SPA employees, noticed that Kaira was not well. She rushed this lovely Dogue de Bordeaux cross to the vet and Kaira underwent emergency surgery for what is known as Bloat or Twisted Gut; aka the Mother of all Emergencies.
A quick look on the internet will explain why. One of my Facebook friends and an SPA supporter, Nicki has experience of this, as she lost her lovely rescue Doberman, Tupac, this way several months ago. Evelyn of Doglinks had more luck when her hound, Jojo had the same problem a couple of years ago. And luckily thanks to the quick actions of Melanie and our excellent vet, Kaira has been saved, but it could have worked out so differently.
Bloat is basically when gas and/or food stretches the dog’s stomach to many times its normal size, causing tremendous abdominal pain. For reasons we do not fully understand, this grossly distended stomach can rotate, thus twisting off its own blood supply and the only exit routes for the gas inside. Not only is this condition extremely painful but it is also life-threatening. A dog with a bloated, twisted stomach (more scientifically called gastric dilatation and volvulus) will die in pain in a matter of hours unless drastic steps are taken.
It usually occurs when a dog has eaten a large meal too quickly, or has taken exercise too soon after eating. The larger, deep chested breeds are affected more than the littlies.
So how do you recognise if your dog has bloat? He or she may have an obviously distended stomach especially near the ribs but this is not always evident depending on the dog’s body configuration.
The biggest clue is vomiting. The dog appears highly nauseated, writhes in pain and retches but little comes up, apart from sometimes foamy bile.
If you see this, rush your dog to the veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.
And how to avoid the condition? Well, nothing is guaranteed, but the two main factors to prevent bloat are to feed your dog two small meals per day rather than one large one, and to never take a dog out for exercise after he has eaten. It is also a good idea to stop your dog eating too quickly. This is easier said than done (I have a “speed eating beagle” to prove it!), but putting a large stone into the bowl (or here in France a petanque ball) around which the dog has to eat, can slow down a “gobbler”.
Kaira had a lucky escape, which is amazing when you think of all the dogs there are in the refuge and how easy it would have been for this condition to have passed unnoticed (three cheers for Melanie). Cases in dog refuges are almost always fatal….Now all we need to do is find this girl a home.
Nicki’s beloved Tupac wasn’t as lucky.