What Is Bloat?

Gastric Dilation and Volvulus Syndrome (GDV), commonly known as bloat, stomach torsion or twisted stomach, is a life-threatening condition.

When your dog suffers from bloat, the stomach can blow up rapidly like a balloon. Reference: www.vetdepot.com

When your dog suffers from bloat, the stomach can blow up rapidly like a balloon. Reference: http://www.vetdepot.com

The stomach fills up with air, fluid or food and puts pressure on other organs, making it difficult for the dog to breathe.  As the stomach enlarges, it may rotate or twist, trapping the air, fluid or food. Blood supply to vital organs is cut off, leading to tissue damage and destruction. 

  • abdominal pain and distention (swelling)
  • excessive drooling
  • vomiting
  • depression
  • anxious behaviour
  • shortness of breath
  • collapse
A COMMON SYMPTOM of BLOAT IS a painful & swollen ABDOMen. 
  • older dogs
  • large to giant breeds
  • deep and narrow chested dogs
  • dogs who eat rapidly or eat one large meal per day
  • dogs who gulp large amounts of water during meals

Not all dogs who experience stomach bloating will end up with volvulus (torsion/twisting of stomach). The only way to determine if your dog is experiencing bloat or GDV is through X-rays. 

IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR DOG IS suffering from GDV, RUSH HIM TO THE VET IMMEDIATELY. a twisted stomach can prevent blood flow to vital organs & result in shock or death very quickly. 

The gas in the stomach can be released by:

  • orogastric intubation – inserting a tube through the mouth into the stomach
  • trocarization – inserting a large needle directly into stomach wall 

Surgery is done to empty the stomach and rotate it back to correct position. The vet may also perform a gastropexy – suture the stomach to the abdominal wall to prevent the stomach from twisting in future.

Exact causes of bloat are unknown. However, we may prevent bloat in our dogs by:

  • avoiding strenuous exercise before and after meals
  • feeding frequent small meals instead of one large meal
  • using specially designed bowls that make dogs eat slower
  • restrict water during meal times

13-year-old Gusto (Dr Jade Lim’s best friend) is currently recuperating at Mount Pleasant Veterinary Centre (Gelenggang) after surgery for GDV.


Gusto as a baby. We wish him speedy recovery!