By: Staff  Date: 01/12/2012 Category: | Research Reports |

Stomach bloat is a major disease for deep-chested dogs, especially those with a family history of the disease or behaviors such as gulping food, drinking lots of water after eating, or over-exercising after eating. Bloat can trigger gastric torsion, a life-threatening twisting of the stomach that needs immediate veterinary care to save the dog.

The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, the Morris Animal Foundation, and various breed clubs have contributed to a bloat study at Purdue University since 1994. The initial work by Dr. Larry Glickman included Great Danes, Irish Setters, Saint Bernards, and Standard Poodles. A year later, Akitas, Collies, Irish Wolfhounds, Newfoundlands, Rottweilers, and Weimaraners were added. Scientists collected data on these breeds by visiting national specialties and measuring dogs to gather data on the relationship between height, depth and width of chest, and bloat incidence. Data collection ended March 31, 1999, and was then analyzed by computer at the university. More than 1900 dogs were enrolled in the program; complex analysis is expected to take several years and result in publication of at least five papers on the study.

The aim of the research is to measure the age-specific incidence of bloat in the highest-risk dog breeds; to test the hypothesis generated from previous studies that the risk of bloat is increased in dogs with a deep and narrow chest or abdomen when compared with other dogs of the same breed; and to determine whether the interventions currently being used by dog owners to prevent bloat are effective.

Risk factors for bloat can be divided into those relating to the dog (body shape, personality, etc.) and those relating to the environment or management. The study confirmed that bloat risk increased with advancing age, larger breed size, greater chest depth, and a close family history of bloat. The study also found that some strategies used by owners to prevent bloat either had the opposite effect or no effect at all. Particularly, raising the food bowl more than doubled bloat risk and restricting water and food before and after exercise may not have any effect.

The first paper arising from this study was published in the January Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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All Authors Of This Article: | Patti Strand |
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