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My Experience with Bloat and Torsion

Many of us know the deadly condition know as Bloat, a dogs stomach expands due to filling up with gas, food or fluid and as the stomach expands it puts pressure on the surrounding organs and circulatory system decreasing blood flow to the heart and other vital organs making the condition much more complicated.

The stomach itself can twist or fully rotate causing a condition called gastric dilation volvulus (GDV) more commonly called torsion, trapping blood in the stomach blocking it from returning to the heart.


The list of symptoms that are regularly communicated are


Swollen stomach





Pale gums

Rapid heartbeat

Short of breath


Here is what happened to me


I have Briards, a large breed with a deep chest not ridiculously deep but plenty of lung room. I have unluckily had Bloat with 2 previous Briards so I am unfortunately well aware of the signs.


I was working late this particular evening and went upstairs around 2.45am to be greeted by my husband saying that Leroy had just landed on his head! Strange behaviour that I couldn’t ignore, he was reluctant to get up which again was unusual. I made him stand and felt his tummy, which was distended largely on one side. I shouted to get dressed to my husband get us in the car to the emergency vet which was 35 minutes away! The whole drive was a mixture of trying hard to stay calm and fighting tears. We follow all the rules about Bloat, don’t feed and exercise, 2 smaller meals rather than a large one, resting after meals, don’t feed if panting due to heat, you name it we read it and action to keep our dogs safe. I had no idea at all what had been the cause this evening, on arriving at the vets Leroy was now wrenching continuously, and the vet advised a Xray!!! Why?? What else could it be???? She reeled off a couple of conditions that showed similar symptoms and to be honest I wasn’t listening I just wanted them to act faster than they were.  Xray done and condition confirmed we were given our options including euthanasia and other possible outcomes, all the time I just wanted them to get on with it.  £2,500 deposit paid we were sent home to wait.

The journey home was just a head full of noise and panic that wouldn’t go silent; I really wanted the silence just so I could calm myself. The call came 3 hours later his stomach had twisted as well causing torsion but the operation had been a success they had stitched his stomach in place and he was in recovery. He would be hospitalised for a few days and monitored closely. Sepsis, toxins in his blood and recurring bloating were mentioned as possible relapses. 12 hours later we got a call they needed him to eat and he was refusing. 3 hours later another call, could we pick him up because every time they went to check on him he kept escaping. This sounded like my boy, we jumped in the van and went to get him. He looked a very sorry sight but was pleased to see us. The first few days at home meant my husband and I watched him constantly setting hourly alarms through the night to check on him. After a week we relaxed a little and 2 months later he is now fully recovered, although I am writing this in my office, it is late and I can hear him panting and it is taking every ounce of will power not to go check on him. 


Things that I didn’t know

  • Bloat can come on over a few days! I always thought it was a condition that always took very little time.
  • When the stomach is stitched it is no guarantee that it won’t bloat and twist again.
  • Although we don’t feed from a raised food bowl this is now seriously frowned upon and mentioned as a possible cause of Bloat.   


I am just happy to have him still with us. The fact that it happened means he is now a dog that has a higher probability of reoccurrence and I don’t know how to work with that, because I don’t know what caused it. As an entire dog he is highly strung and can get a bit stressed, not by the usual things fireworks, thunder etc …  but by stupid things, a hoover placed near a door way, can keep him in a room for hours!  Sitting at the top of the stairs because there is a pile of clean pants at the bottom he can’t walk past!

Never a dull moment

Love you Leroy xx 

P.S I did go and check him

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