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The Latest Word on Bloat
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Then there’s the contentious issue of breed predisposition to consider, for which risk assessments invariably list large and giant breeds at the top.While the breeds themselves may vary and disputes arise when it comes to whether X breed beats Y on the bloat-meter, some breeds always seem to prevail: namely, Great Danes, Saint Bernards and Weimaraners.

Knowing all this, it’s now your job to eliminate the predisposing factors you can (feed from the ground and slow down speedy eaters), know what bloat looks like (retching and abdominal distension), treat it like the “mother of all emergencies” it is (get thee to the vet fast), and decline to preemptively “tack” large- and giant-breed dogs at your own risk.

Editor’s Note: Starting in the mid-1990s, Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine’s Canine Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus Research Program began collecting and studying a range of data; read more about the research and its conclusions at vet.purdue.edu/epi/bloat.htm.

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This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 56: Sept/Oct 2009
Dr. Patty Khuly practices in Miami, Fla., and blogs at dolittler.com. dolittler.com

Doberman photo: James Brey; Stomach diagram: Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook

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