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5 Things you need to know about GDV (Bloat)

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What is a GDV?
A GDV happens when the dog’s stomach rotates, reducing blood flow to the stomach and blocking blood flow from returning to the heart and other areas of the body, thus sending the dog into shock. This rotation also results in the accumulation of gas in the stomach that cannot escape, causing it to bloat.

The bloat usually develops rapidly, and they can show symptoms such as a distended abdomen, unproductive retching (trying to vomit but nothing comes out), abdominal pain, salivation, restlessness and they may also develop difficulty breathing. As the condition gets worse they can develop weakness, pale gums, a rapid heart rate and may collapse.

The veterinarian will confirm the diagnosis on abdominal x-rays and perform further blood tests to establish the prognosis of the patient.

After the diagnosis is made, the veterinarian will determine the severity of the condition by performing appropriate blood tests. Animals are normally stabilized with high doses of fluids and a stomach tube is often placed to release the trapped gas/air.  When stable, the patients are then anaesthetized and taken into theatre where the stomach will be placed back into its normal position. During surgery a procedure called a gastropexy can be performed to fix the stomach to the abdominal wall to lessen the chance of this condition from happening again.

To help prevent a GDV from happening a gastropexy can be performed as early as six months of age. This is an ideal time for the procedure as it is normally done around the same time when sterilization is performed. This surgery can significantly reduce the occurrence of a GDV happening, but it is not 100% preventative. Furthermore, preventing animals from running around and exercising after a meal can also reduce the chance of these events occuring. In addition to this, feeding fewer small meals instead one large meal a day may also reduce the risk. If you are worried your dog may be at risk of developing a GDV ask your veterinarian about a gastropexy.

If you think your dog may have a GDV, it is crucial to get to a veterinarian as soon as possible as this is a matter of life and death.






Kennel Cough

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So, what is kennel cough actually?
It is a highly contagious viral infection affecting the upper respiratory tract of dogs. A better name to describe it would be infectious viral tracheobronchitis.

What are the symptoms?
Owners often describe the most common symptom as: “sounds like there is something stuck in my dog’s throat” and “my dog has a harsh dry cough”. Other, often less noticeable symptoms include sneezing and a watery eye or nose. Other than the unsettling cough their behavior usually remains normal and they are still eating well.

How does my dog get Kennel cough?
Because this condition is highly contagious it can be spread not only by coming into contact with ill dogs or contaminated objects such as water-bowls and toys, but it can also be spread through the air when the infected dog coughs, sneezes or barks. Being contagious also means that it can spread rapidly at places where many dogs come together, places such as dog parks, kennels, doggy daycares, parlours and even at the Vet.

How does it get treated?
Kennel cough usually doesn’t require any treatment and the dog normally recovers well without any medication. However, it can occasionally take up to 2-3 weeks for the cough to resolve. Sometimes, dogs can also develop a secondary bacterial infection and when this happens, it usually goes together with other symptoms such as lethargy and inappetence. With a secondary infection the cough will then also start to change and the nasal discharge will change from clear to a green color. Once this is noticed your pet may need some medication from your Vet, so please book an appointment as soon as possible.

How can it be prevented?
There are different types of vaccines available against kennel cough: an injectable or intranasal form. Although these vaccines don’t provide 100% protection, they provide some protection against kennel cough and can decrease the severity of the symptoms. Speak to your veterinarian to learn more about kennel cough and the best way to protect your dog from it.

It is always important to remember to take your pet to the Vet if you are worried in any way, no matter how big or small.