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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2813
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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My 85 lb lab got into his food storage container and ate

Customer Question

Hi. My 85 lb lab got into his food storage container and ate a bunch of dry food (not sure exactly how much). He seems uncomfortable now and his stomach seems hard and swollen. Does this sound like bloat and do I need to take him to ER?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. The Veterinarian will know if the dog will be able to digest that. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Neiko, 4yo. Belly seems less tight now.
JA: How old is Neiko?
Customer: 4
JA: Anything else I can tell the Veterinarian before I connect you two?
Customer: Not that I can think of
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Hello,I'm Dr. Jo and I'm here to help you with your question about Neiko and "Food Bloat". (typing more)
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
The quick answer is - yes- this warrants a trip to the ER. It's one of the more common emergencies we deal with. The largest reason to seek emergency care is that - particularly for a lab - this increases the likelihood that Neiko might develop the life-threatening condition known as GDV (commonly called "bloat"). GDV is every large dog owner's worst nightmare. Here's more on Food Bloat:
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
This is from a great article that explains Food Bloat:"Every holiday I overeat. My belly gets a little distended, and I feel overly full. I recognize my mistake and swear not to eat as much next year. But what if the food you ate at the holiday meal kept on increasing in volume as it sat in your stomach? That could be a problem.So it is with dogs who get into a bag of dry food. Every dog will eat until they are full; that’s not the problem. It has been reported that the normal canine stomach can accommodate 7-8 % of the dog’s body weight in food. The problem starts when the dry food starts to absorb fluid from the stomach, or the dog drinks. The dry food swells as it absorbs the fluid, overdistending the stomach. This condition is known as food bloat.Signs of food bloat are usually acute in onset. Patients frequently present similar to those with GDV. Dogs demonstrate abdominal discomfort and anxiety. Attempts at vomiting are frequently non-productive, and pressure on the diaphragm from the gastric distention can cause increased respiratory effort. Occasionally, the stomach is distended enough to interfere with blood return by the vena cava, causing signs of poor cardiac output. Food bloat is diagnosed with radiographs. The food-filled stomach, unlike a GDV, is normally positioned. GDVTreatment recommendations for patients with food bloat vary:Some clinicians attempt to induce vomiting; however, this is frequently ineffective. Overdistention of the stomach interferes with its ability to contract and expel its contents. We don’t recommended emesis.The administration of IV fluids is recommended. Dogs risk dehydration as the dry stomach contents draw in fluid. Furthermore, the stomach contents need to be moist enough to be broken down and passed through the pylorus. Those dogs demonstrating compromise in perfusion from dehydration, or reduced cardiac return from the excessive gastric dilation, could also benefit from fluid therapy.Providing frequent walks has been suggested as it appears to help stimulate gastric emptying.Administering pro-motility medications such as metoclopramide may also be helpful.Analgesics are indicated in painful dogs. It has been suggested that NSAIDs be avoided so as not to further irritate the stomach.Finally, the resolution of food bloat takes time. Most dogs improve within 12 hours of presentation.Surgery is not recommended to treat food bloat unless the stomach is also displaced, or the pet is having signs of compromised perfusion or other distress that does not respond to initial treatment.How about lavaging the food out of the stomach?Lavage is typically not necessary and would likely prove difficult to perform because of the density and dryness of the stomach contents. The risk of inducing aspiration pneumonia in many cases outweighs any potential benefit you might gain. Lavage might be considered if the stomach is distended to the point where perfusion is compromised.Note: The occurrence of food bloat has not been associated with an increased risk of developing GDV.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
In other words, it isn't a true GDV ("Bloat") unless the stomach flips. Food Bloat (which is what this sounds like) is a different matter, but it makes it much more likely a dog will develop a GDV before the food passes. That's why we tend to hospitalize dogs with Food Bloat.Clinical signs of a developing GDV include:unproductive retching (dry heaves)pale mucous membraneslabored breathingcollapse
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He hasn't had any of the 4 GDV signs above
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
That's very good news. GDV is always lethal without treatment, and even with treatment the mortality rate is significant. Let's be hopeful he doesn't develop it. In the meantime, I will emphasize that would NOT advise waiting for him to develop signs of GDV before going to the ER. I would go now. As I said above, food bloat is one of the more common problems we deal with. Is there anything else I can help you with tonight?
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Please also remember I am here for you and am happy to discuss your question until you are satisfied with the answer I've provided. You may return to this page at any time to review this information and/or post more. You may do so even after you've rated my response. I'll be notified of your response via email and will do my best to help you.If you are satisfied with the information I've provided, please take a moment to rate my response. I've done my best to provide you with the most accurate, thorough and up-to-date information that is available, and your positive feedback is important to me. Without it, I receive no compensation for helping you.If you are not satisfied, please let me know how else I may be of assistance.Thank you for using our website.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Hello,Just checking in to ask how your dog is doing now. Did everything turn out okay?Thank you.