When It's Bloat
As most everyone knows, Hannah bloated and torsioned Tuesday evening. Here's what happened, and what we did....
Tuesday started out like any other day. Normal routine, nothing out of the ordinary occured. I walked Hannah, fed her two cups of food with her medicine, filled her kong and her peanut butter bone, and headed to work.
When we got home from work, I noticed two small discolored spots on the floor, apparently from where she had vomited. Hannah vomits from time to time, but it was no extra cause for alarm...yet. I did notice that when we get home, Hannah always vocalizes her happiness to see us. Tuesday, there was no vocalization - but she was still excited to see us.
I grabbed her leash and off we went. She went pee and poop as usual - poop was normal. She was more subdued on her leash than usual, but I just thought it was because her training was really paying off (HA!). We walked down to the river and instead of playing (RED FLAG!) she tried to drink out of it. Being strange water, I didn't want her drinking it, so we headed back up the bank and back to the apartment. When we got in, she went straight to her water dish and started to drink frantically. I called her away from her dish after a bit because I didn't want her gulping too much. When she walked away from the dish, she came to me and she was just looking at me. I asked her what was wrong and offered her a cookie. She took it from my hand and then dropped it on the floor. I told Jeff to come here, and offered her another one. She dropped it too. We both looked at each other and were thinking "What's wrong with her?" Refusing food is another RED FLAG for her.
She then started really trying to vomit...but nothing was coming up. I grabbed a few gas-x out of the first aid kit and pilled her. She threw two of them back, and continued trying to vomit. That's when I grabbed the straight liquid simethicone and tried to poor it down her throat. Her abdomen started to swell, and was hard. She was drooling profusely. I told Jeff to grab his stuff, she's bloating....let's GO.
It was quite literally the longest 10 minute drive of my life. Within those ten minutes, she became pale, shocky and unable to stand without my support.
I can't help but think.....What if we had not come straight home? What if she would have done it an hour earlier? What if, ya know?
For everyone who is not familiar with the signs and symptoms of bloat - LEARN THEM NOW! Do not wait until you experience it. TIME IS CRITICAL. If you even THINK it's bloat, GO - I would have loved to have paid the $88 visit fee only to find out she had gas....$88 is a drop in the bucket to her bill now, but had we waited to see if it was just an upset stomach, our baby could be dead right now.
Signs of bloat (Notice the ones highlighted in red are signs Hannah exhibited - she was a textbook case fitting every sign and symptom. I could not tell gum color as she has dark gums, but the insides of her ears became white once she entered phase three):
1. Pacing, restlessness, panting and salivating.
2. Unproductive attempts to vomit (every 10-20 minutes).
3. Abdomen exhibits fullness and beginning to enlarge.
Call Veterinarian to advise of bloat case enroute. Transport dog to Veterinarian immediately.
1. Very restless, whining, panting continuously, heavy salivating.
2. Unproductive attempts to vomit (every 2-3 minutes).
3. Dark red gums.
4. High heart rate (80 to 100 BPM).
5. Abdomen is enlarged and tight, emits hollow sound when thumped.
Apply first aid if Veterinarian care is more than 10 minutes away.
Then, transport dog to Veterinarian immediately.
1. Gums are white or blue (Could not tell on Hannah-dark gums)
2. Dog unable to stand or has a spread-legged, shaky stance.
3. Abdomen is very enlarged.
4. Extremely high heart rate (100 BPM or greater)and weak pulse.
Death is imminent! Apply first aid immediately. Transport dog to Veterinarian IMMEDIATELY (even while applying first aid if possible).
Hannah went from phase one to phase three in the span of 15-20 minutes.
I cannot stress again how CRITICAL time is.
To learn first aid for bloat, please visit: http://www.dachshund.org/bloat_instructions.html
Print a list of symptoms out and post it on your refrigerator. Familiarize everyone in your household with the symptoms. Make sure you have worked out financial considerations BEFORE HAND. If possible, set aside a credit card JUST for pet emergencies. The vet would not begin treatment on Hannah until we paid a $1,000 deposit. Also, make sure you have discussed the treatment in the event of this emergency with your regular vet as well as your local emergency clinic PRIOR to it happening. Some vets will not treat a dog with GDV. They will elect to euthanize. Time is of the essence. Don't wait until it happens to take care of these things.
Here are some wonderful links I've accumulated over time:
Tubing A Bloat Dog:
Gastropexy (Stomach tacking)
Symptoms of Bloat (from Danes Online)
20 Signs that your dog may be in trouble from bloat or torsion:
(1) distended abdomen
(2) rigid (hard) abdomen
(3) painful when touched in the abdomen
(4) vomiting foamy or liquid material
(5) unproductive attempts at vomiting or retching
(6) arched back
(7) praying position (down in front, rear standing)
(8) laying down on belly - crouched position
(9) curling up in a ball
(10) laying or sitting in an unusual location
(11) seeking a hiding place
(12) looking at their side
(13) frequent swallowing (aerophagia)
(14) hypersalivation (drooling heavily)
(15) drinking excessively
(16) lack of appetite
(17) quiet, any abnormal behavior
(18) lethargy, weakness
(19) panting, breathing rapidly or heavily
(20) red gums, or white gums (not normal pink color)
You know your own dog the best and you know when things aren't quite right.
If you even SUSPECT bloat...GO.
The Cost Of Bloat:
Thought I'd share what Hannah's surgery has costed so far so everyone who has not gone through this before can know what to expect should it happen to them. Keep in mind, Hannah was caught early, so the damage was not as extensive. All things considering, I think we've escaped so far with a pretty decent bill. As some know, bloat and complications can easily rack up $5,000 in bills.
Emergency Room Exam $88
Butorphanol Injection $32
2 IV Cath $80
First liter of IV Fluids $33
Stat 8 PCV/TS $50
ACT (Stat) $38
Propofol, ISO Supplement $74
Operating Room Fee $60
Gastric Decompression $80
Surgical procedure $500
Suture Materials, 2 packs $27
Saline Flush $25
Surgery Suction materials $29
Suction bulb syringe $2
4 additional liters IV fluids $100
Fentanyl CRI $60
Lidocain additive for CRI $7
Cefazoline, 2 $68
2 Metaclopramide $21.70
Nursing Care week night, level 4 $55.75
Hospitilalization, week night $59.50
For a total of $1,633.38
This is just the bill from the E-clinic. Here are the charges for the next two days of treatment at our regular vets.
Office Visit - follow up $29.00
Hospitalization level 2 $38.80
IV Infusion pump per day $6.20
2 Injection - Cimetidine $33.00
2 Injection - Torbugesic $33.00
Vetscan and Electrolytes $74.00
1 Injection- Ampicillin $16.50
1 Fluids, KCI added $6.00
4 cans prescription EN $6.00
6 Tramadol tablets $9.00
Fluids, IV $23.00
Hospitalization, Level 2 $38.80 ($10.00 discounted)
IV Infusion pump $6.20
Fluids, KCI added $6.00
Total of $315.50
Medications from Walgreens $16.00
Total Cost for this bloat episode so far: $1,964.88
(Having my baby home safe and sound: Priceless)
Keri, I am beyond thrilled that Hannah is doing well. Thank you so much for posting this, I vote it be stickied.
"A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave". - Mohandas Gandhi
I stuck it and will add that the articles on bloat (as well as many others) at Linda Arndt's site, www.greatdanelady.com , have been a great source of info to me.
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You are VERY lucky you were home... thank God she's okay!
I wan't home when my dog torsioned..... what I wouldn't give for that $2,000.00 vet bill.....
Excellent post! One word of caution I would like to add though is that sometimes a dog will not show any of the traditional signs of bloat. Almost 5 yrs ago when I got up in the morning Farley just wasn't acting like himself, nothing I could put my finger on. He was just extremely "velcro" and was laying in spots that weren't typical for him and he wasn't his usual energetic self. The vet didn't have any openings until 6 PM. By 11 AM there was no change in how he was doing but I was increasingly getting concerned and called the vet and said I am bringing him in now. The gal who answered the phone said OK but it would be quite some time before they'd be able to squeeze him in to see the vet. When we got there they had a room waiting for us because when she told the vet I had called he said I knew my dogs and if I was that concerned he'd see Farley immediately. He did a complete check up on him and other than his lack of energy absolutely nothing showed up. After some more discussion to put my mind at ease he took him in the back for some stomach xrays. Within 10 minutes he was back to say Farley was being prepped for emergency surgery. He had progressed so far that they were unable to save his spleen but they were able to save his life. I am so thankful I trusted my instincts and my vet trusted them as well.
What it boils down to is you know your dog and you know when something isn't right even when it may not fit any textbook description. Follow your instincts - it may save your dog's life.
Denise a/k/a Poodlesmom
Another thing I'm going to print out to post at work. This is something that is critical for us to know the early signs of, as we have many giant breeds board with us.
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Very informative, and I'm glad your girl is okay. I've been lucky that both times Rumor has gone in for possible bloat, it wasn't. The first time she swelled up like a balloon and refused food, but then vomited after reaching the vet. Second time she blew up, was drinking large amounts of water, but was lethargic, so I couldn't place what was wrong. That time it was just an allergic reaction to something she encountered while out on a walk.
Both times I've been extremely lucky, but I can't imagine what you've been through the past week. It would be an awful experience, and one that I would love to avoid.