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Categories: Dogs with Torsion or Bloat , Health

Q. My 5 year old GSD just had surgery for gastric torsion. Have you experienced this? How do I keep this from happening again?
Hello Ed-

I just wanted to run this by you, since you may have seen this condition in the many Shepherds you meet.

My 5 Yr. Old Male German Shepherd, was chewing a rawhide bone Sunday night (April 1st) He barely chewed a small end, and then became suddenly extremely sick. Lethargic, Vomiting, collapsed on the floor, couldn't get up without yelping, etc. I rushed him right in to the Emergency Clinic here, and luckily they caught in time a nasty case of Gastric Dilation-Torsion.

A small piece of the rawhide my dog was chewing, became lodged in his intestines, then causing his stomach to flip. They operated on him, and today (Thursday) is his first day back home.

I have been reading around a lot about this condition, which I see is extremely common in German Shepherds and other deep chest large breeds. I also saw several sources that said their dogs bloated again months after the surgery. My dog's stomach was tacked, so it cannot rotate in the future, but even my vet said there is a small chance a bloat can happen again in the future, which can still be life threatening, the stomach just wont rotate if it happens.

Obviously I came right home and trashed every rawhide I had, and will never give him one again.

I wanted to ask, have you ever had this happen to a dog? If so, did your dog recover okay? Did you see any other bloat incidents at any time after their surgery, whether it be weeks months or years later?

This was a very terrifying experience for both myself and my dog. I came extremely close to losing my best bud.

Do you recommend any good chews for German Shepherds that may offer less of an intestinal blockage risk than a rawhide? Do you know of any diets that may be calmer as well? My vet recommended elevating the food and water dish, feed smaller meals more often during the day rather than one or two big ones. My vet recommended some other things as far as chewing options, but I am really wanting to get as many professional opinions as I can, incase I miss anything, I want to avoid this forever.

I know you are not a Vet but I was just curious if you have experienced this yourself and if so, how did things go for you and how you went about preventing it in the future.

Any help appreciated!

-Kelli

A. We are fortunate to have never had any of our dogs bloat. I think there is much more to this condition than just breed tendency. I believe diet and over vaccination play a huge role in this, more than most vets will admit or even know.

I would strongly recommend a raw diet for this dog. Read this article on feeding a raw diet. It’s a work in progress but there is a lot of good information there.

I would also recommend these books, Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats and Raw Dog Food.

You can also go to our Feeding Dogs Page for a list of articles and books that will be helpful to you. We carry a dehydrated quality food, for people who want the convenience of a commercial diet but the benefits of raw.

Please visit our Discussion Forum. There are thousands of members and many posts on every dog related topic imaginable. You don’t have to register to read the material, but if you wish to post a question or reply you must go through the registration process.

I know there have been quite a few people who have posted their experiences with bloat on the forum. You can use the search function to narrow down the topics.

For chewing options, I would recommend a toy that you can fill with yogurt or ground meat or cream cheese, and then freeze them. The dogs work a good long time on them and it’s safe because there are not any pieces that can come off.

Hope this helps.
  
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