Written by Tricia Claridge:
When we first decided on getting a Great Dane for a family pet we did all of the possible research on the breed through books, internet and by word of mouth through existing Dane owners in hopes to ensure that he or she would be an equal fit with us and for the dog itself. We soon welcomed Gibson Claridge into our family.
During our research we did discovered that Danes were “high risk” for Bloat (GDV) and unfortunately death is the most common out come once diagnosed. However early detection is key to a dog’s survival however it is not guaranteed. My husband and I constantly read up on bloat (GDV) to ensure that we both fully understood what it is and what kinds of symptoms we should be looking for. We also made sure that our family, friends and kennel services were also fully aware of bloat (GDV) as more eyes looking for these symptoms would be the best outcome for Gibson.
Knowing that we could not 100% prevent Gibson from getting bloat (GDV) we tried a list of things in hopes to prevent it from happening such as:
- Raised water/food bowls
- Monitored his activates before and after all meals/treats/water breaks – we used the old saying “30 mins of rest after eating before you go swimming” however with him for exercise/free run in the back yard
- Another prevention method is to tack their stomach to their rib cage – we did look into the possibility of tacking his stomach when he was neutered however the Veterinarian overlooking him at the time did not offer this service to male dogs as his surgery did not require him to be opened up. There are some Veterinarian’s who would automatically recommend this surgery for female Danes while they are being spayed as they are already opened up for their surgery.
The Bloat (GDV) surgery can be very expensive so we looked into the possibility of getting Pet Insurance for Gibson to help cover the cost if we ever needed it. We wanted to make sure that we were fully prepared in case this ever happened to Gibson, and we didn’t want “the cost of the surgery” to be a benefactor to the safe recovery of our dog. Not only would the Pet Insurance cover a GDV Surgery but they also covered other diagnoses procedures. Sadly however, even after everything we did to help prevent Gibson in developing bloat (GDV) he still did.
Gibson was staying at a kennel while we were away for the weekend and he didn’t eat very well while we were gone (this typically happens at the kennel). After we picked him up and brought him home we placed some food down in his bowl, which he ate (like he normally does). Later that night we decided to step out for some dinner and upon our return my husband noticed that Gibson had gotten sick while we were out. It was thick and foamy mucus, and we have never seen vomit like this from him before. We brought Gibson outside and noticed that he was very stand offish with us (normally he is trying to play with us or trying to get some extra back rubs in while he is leaning into us). We then noticed that he would not lift his head, so we called him over to us and tried to get him to sit and we saw that it seemed to take a lot of effort. Once we got him to lie down we went ahead and started to check his stomach, which seemed like it was hard under our touch and we noticed a large lump bulging just under his last rib bone. We determined that these were the first signs of bloat however just to make sure my husband tried to give Gibson a treat and he refused them (which never happens). At this time we called the emergency hotline. After speaking with Tawnya she requested that we bring Gibson into the clinic so that they could asses him. Once we got to the clinic Gibson had gotten sick a second time, we got some x-rays done and the attending Vet, Dr. Ingrid Walker had confirmed that Gibson was indeed experiencing bloat (GDV) and indicated that we caught it at a very early stage. The bulge that developed in his side was actually his spleen expanding due to the twist. Dr. Trevor Henry was called in to do the surgery and was able to untwist the stomach and Gibson’s spleen automatically started to shrink. Dr. Trevor Henry also tacked his stomach at this time to help prevent this from occurring again in the future.
We were informed afterwards that the surgery did not take as long as expected because we had gotten Gibson into the clinic so quickly. As in most cases the dogs that come in with bloat (GDV) have passed away while they were discussing and or prepping for surgery because they were so far along. Looking back we are just glad that we were able to recognize the symptoms of bloat (GDV) and had the pet insurance.
We are ever so grateful to the wonderful staff at Chatham Kent Veterinary Clinic that our Gibson made it through his surgery, recovery and is still with us today.