Pit Bulls And Bloat

Bloat is a condition caused by the rapid ingestion of large amounts of food and air.  Gulping food is common in all dogs and harks back to their wolf ancestors.  In wolves food must be eaten quickly to prevent it from being eaten by others. 

Bloat is second only to cancer in canine mortality, but is still unknown to many dog owners.  The medical term for bloat is gastric dilatation volvulus.  When the bloated stomach twists or torsions (turns in on itself) blood supply is interrupted, which can quickly lead to damage of internal organs and death.

Large chested dogs are most prone to bloat although it can occur in smaller dogs as well.  Symptoms may include a tight distended stomach, attempted vomiting, stress, gagging, licking the air, drawn up torso, foamy mouth, salivation, hiding, heavy panting, and other unusual behaviors.

Prevention of bloat is usually related to feeding interventions.  Elevated bowls are often advertised as a defense against bloat, although many believe they can actually increase the risk of bloat.  Feeding your Pit from several smaller dishes rather than from one large dish is a common solution.  Feeding from a muffin tin also makes sense.  If using an extra large bowl a rock can be placed in the center to spread the food around.  Serving the kibble in an inverted water dish can also be affective. 

Two or three smaller meals each day is preferable to one large meal.  Owners should not exercise their Pits immediately after a meal. 

While bloat may be less common in Pit Bulls than in other large chested breeds it does occur.  Time is of essence with bloat and a trip to the vet is mandatory. There are no home remedies that can save a Pit with bloat.   

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