Bloat in Briards
Bloat, with or without torsion, occurs most commonly in large chested breeds.
Since we own Briards and we have had 2 of our own Briards bloat,
we will focus on the Briard breed. But the information contained here can be
applied to other breeds.
It is believed that Bloat usually follows the ingestion of a quantity of
commercial dog meal and the consumption of large amounts of water, but
may occur at any time. A considerable amount of money has been donated
for research to determine the cause and prevention of this condition.
However, these answers are still elusive. Studies have shown that Bloat is
less frequent in Europe than in North America.
An ongoing study is being conducted by a Dr. Glickman at Purdue
University. Information about the risk factors and probability of Bloat come
from this extensive study, done mainly with Irish Setters.

Acute Gastric Dilatation - Bloat - Gastric Torsion
Acute Gastric Dilatation:
Acute Gastic Dilatation means stomach distention or enlargement. Which may occur
after eating food and drinking alot of water. This condition in itself, may be treated
by having the dog's stomach tubed, (if torsion has not occurred). Inserting a tube
down the dog's throat to the stomach, to empty the contents of the stomach and
hopefully shrink the stomach back to a normal size. This procedure should be
performed by an experienced person to avoid damage to the lower esophagus.
Sometimes, the preferred treatment may be the insertion of a large needle directly
into the stomach to relieve the pressure. This decision is made by your vet and
determined by the exact condition of your dog. Here again, this procedure should
be performed by experts, leakage of fluids into the abdominal cavity may cause
Bloat - Gastric Torsion:
Torsion, or twisting, means that the stomach has twisted, cutting off both ends of
the stomach from intake and output. Once the stomach has twisted, the contents
are trapped in as the gas continues to build. As the stomach expands, it may press
upon major arteries and veins in the abdominal cavity, restricting blood flow and
lowering blood pressure. Once this happens, the heart rate increases and the pulse
becomes weak as the dog goes into shock. Shock does not always occur during the
early stage but is a very good possibility. (In our two experiences of Bloat, niether
Briard went into shock. But this may have been due to the fact that we were able to
immediately recognize the symptons and act without hesitation.)

If the stomach has enlarged enough, it may displace the spleen, cutting off
circulation, causing enlargement and even twisting of the spleen. With stomach
circulation constricted, parts of the  stomach wall can necrose, or die.
And all of this
may happen over several hours or even
minutes . And once it starts, your dog will
need immediate medical attention and treatment WITHOUT hesitation.
Once a dog has Bloated, there is a good chance that they
will Bloat again. If the dog has Bloated to the point of
needing surgery, most owners, as we did, will have the
stomach tacked or sewn to the inside lining of the
abdominal cavity on both sides. This is, and was done, to
prevent future episodes of torsioning. In both of our
Briards, the tacking worked and niether Bloated again
during their lives.
If you suspect a problem,
and often the symptoms are overlooked and/or not
recognized as symptoms of Bloat.
Some Usual Warning Signs of Bloat
Whining - Panting - Salivation
Your dog may be whining repeatedly without reason.
Unusual and frequent panting and/or drouling.
Your dog may be pacing back and forth for no apparent
reason, afraid to sit or lay.
Repeated Up and Down
Your dog may repeatedly sit and stand several times
because it is uncomfortable for them to sit or lie down.
Attempted Vomiting and Defecation
Your dog may try to vomit and/or defecate with
difficulty, and nothing comes out.
Abdominal Discomfort and Enlargement
Your dog's stomach may be touchy and they won't
allow you to touch it.
Your dog's abdominal area MAY be visibly enlarged
No Appetite or Thursting
Your dog will avoid food and drinking when
Your dog may avoid their toys and offered
Your dog may avoid contact with other dogs
and humans.
As always. . . . it is better to be safe than sorry.
SO !
If your dog is experiencing any of the above signs
of Bloat . . . . . .
Preventive measures that were explained to
us, and that we have incorporated into our
everyday lives, are as follows:

NEVER feed your dog after an
exercise or play period.
(We always wait at least 30
minutes before feeding
our Briards after playtime.)

2. ALWAYS wait at least 3
hours after eating, before
your dog is allowed to
exercise or play vigorously.

ALWAYS feed smaller
meals - several times a day.
(Whatever amount of food that you
feed your dog on a daily basis,
divide it up into 2 or 3 mealtimes.
We feed our Briards 3 times a day.)
We were also told that yogart containing
acidophilus helps the digestive process,
so we have added 2 tbls to each meal.
We do not know if this is true, BUT !
It could not hurt, so we do it.
We, (Jack & Jan Wynne), have offered all of the above
information as an aid to help prevent the death of
beloved Briards everywhere.
Some of this information was taken from documents
that we have received from our vets, and other
information such as the warning signs, were
taken from our own experiences during the
2 Bloat cases with our Fozzie and Jenna.