As a life threatening emergency often misdiagnosed by dog owners Stomach Flip may cause much hardship for both dogs and their humans alike. Every year far too many dogs die because their stomach has flipped. It can happen to any dog, but large and middle sized individuals bear a greater risk than smaller and miniature sized canines. Very often dog owners do not know the signs of a flipped stomach which leaves them in a position where they can not help their four legged friends successfully. As a consequence the life threatening dynamics of the stomach flip just take their course and often their dogs life.
The sad story of a friend of mine suggests that sometimes even veterinarians do not recognize what is happening. My friend, a very experienced breeder was on holidays with her dogs when one of her bitches displayed all the symptoms of Stomach Flip. The veterinarian she consulted did not recognize them, telling my friend that things would improve with time and maybe her bitch had just eaten too much. Even when the things got worse he would not do anything for her. My friend had never experienced a case of Stomach Flip and was far too nice to look for another vet.
Even so she was very worried she trusted this man. Her bitch died a horrible and needless death. Later on the vet assured my friend that most dogs do not survive surgery anyway. This is of course not true as the lives of many dogs who came through illustrates. Whether a dog survives surgery depends primarily on the amount of time which has passed since the beginning of the catastrophe. If left too long even the best surgeon will not be able to save a dogs life. A general rule of thumb says that surgery should not be left longer than two hours after the onset of symptoms.
Signs to put you on RED ALERT are:
All of a sudden your dog starts to vomit. He wants to bring something up but due to the fact that his stomach is closed nothing comes up.
Usually there is some saliva and your dog pumps heavily in order to free his stomach but he does so without success.
His general condition starts to deteriorate rapidly
Your dogs belly starts to swell and becomes rock hard. As the size of his abdomen increases he may start to look like a bar on legs.
Your dog starts to pant heavily as he is trying to breathe.
The lining of his eyes and gums become pale.
His pulse rate increases.
In order to breathe he may lie flat on his chest with outstretched elbows.
He is obviously in great pain and very frightened which may show up as listlessness.
What can you do in such a situation?
The most important thing is recognizing the symptoms for what they are and making your way to the surgeon immediately.
Phone a veterinarian at once and ask him whether or not he does do surgery on dogs.
If yes, tell him you are coming.
If no, do not waste any time but ask him for the number and address of the nearest vet surgeon.
DO NOT take your dog to a clinic unless they offer surgery for dogs.
Stomach Flip is a killer and your dog does not have any time to waste.
Apart from rushing him to surgery what else can you do to help your dog? The most important thing is recognizing the symptoms for what they are and making your way to the surgeon immediately. Talk to your dog and reassure him. Let him choose the position he wants to be in – he knows best. Never lift him up under his tummy – the increase of pressure will cause his stomach and spleen to rupture. If possible transport him on a sliding plane so the back part of his body is lower than the upper part. Transport him in a well aired or air conditioned car so he can get as much air as possible. Try to be calm so you do not to frighten him even more.
I know quite a few dogs who suffered from stomach flip and did pull through after all. Thanks to their informed owners that they were treated quickly and successfully. Keeping yourself informed about serious diseases like this is the best way to safeguard your best friend.