Are Labs prone to bloat? I ask because Remi seems to eat really fast sometimes and then gets hiccups....which I'm assuming is because he inhales so much air. A friend of mine just recently had to put her Great Dane down due to bloat...scary and sad, so obviously I'd like to take any precautions I should/need to. She used a raised feeder for her dog but this still happened. Are there other strategies to use to avoid this?
Yes, labs can get bloat. There are a few conflicting ideologies regarding what exactly causes it. I believe it's Dukedad that has a bloat website, hopefully he'll be by to provide some more information.
Here are a few good reads on bloat that I know of:
This is a recent study:
Canine nutritionist's perspective on the study:
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
I recently lost a Shepherd to bloat. I have no idea why it happened to her. None at all.
I fed her grain free, I fed her smaller portions twice a day, she ate quality food, she had no indicator of any distress or stress prior to the event.
It just happens sometimes, I guess - like heart attacks in seemingly healthy people. I am trying not to worry about it with my Lab.
It happens. But labs aren't one of the big breeds known for it happening ALOT. I think Danes and Bloodhounds are more prone to it. A gal I know that shows bloodhounds actually does a little operation where they go in and tack down some of the innards so they can twist over on themselves. Not necessary in labs. I have 5 and never had a problem.
What I did to teach mine to eat slower is I put ice cubes in there food to they had some thing to eat around. That helped a lot. There is also http://www.handicappedpets.com/acc/bowl/index.html
Ever since my first dog died suddenly of gastric torsion I have been scared to death of it. My beagle was 12 at the time and in good health. I had just returned from a vet visti with her and let her out of the car to potty. When I got out of the car I found her eating the remains of a decomposing rabbit which had been sitting in the hot August sun. Mind you, this occurred in a matter of seconds. I yelled at her and she scooted into the house. The moment she got in she collapsed and urinated and defecated all over. Obviously in shock. I rushed her back. Diagnosis was gastric torsion(where the stomach has actually flipped). I was told nothing could be done to save her and had to put her down immediately to end her suffering. I beat myself up over it...I had never left her off leash before.
I know from that experience that foods that are eaten rapidly or create gas in the gut (like this decomposing animal that she was frantically trying to eat before being caught) can lead to this condition. Trying to prevent rapid eating helps. They even make special bowls to help prevent gulping. Feed smaller meals more frequently. Making sure you restrict heavy exercise several hours before and after meals/water. Get to the vet immediately if you suspect they are bloating..it helps to keep a gas aid on hand too.
Huckle had his stomach tacked by the ER doc tduring his second intestinal obstruction surgery. It gave me a bit of security. I worry a lot more about Guthrie. I know how fast it can happen and how deadly it can be.
By the way it looks as if Remi is still a puppy from your siggy pic. My Guthrie hiccuped a lot as a puppy so I dont' think it is anything to worry about.
Debjen's Riley had a couple very scary incidents requiring surgery a few years ago. Typically it's your deep chested dogs w/ tuck up that are more prone. I believe he's been much better now that he's getting a digestive enzyme... maybe she'll see this and comment. Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
After cancer, bloat is the #1 killer of large chested dogs. Oona enhales her food so I feed her 4 times a day. Friends of mine that have Danes feed them 6 times a day and have never had a problem.