Can Beagles Get Bloat?

Beagle eating food with bowl on the floor

Animals sometimes have an excess amount of gas in their stomachs. This causes a bloated appearance and can even the untimely death of your Beagle. If you are a Beagle owner, you might wonder if your dog will get bloat.

Let’s find out if your flurry friend will get bloat.

Will Beagles Get Bloat?

Although unlikely, a Beagle can be the prey of bloat. Bloat usually happens to big-chested and large dog breeds that are known for their size.

Some prone to bloat dog breeds are Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Irish Setters, Gordon Setters, and so on. Statistically, the top 3 breeds most prone to bloat are:

  1. Great Dane
  2. Saint Bernard
  3. Weimaraner

It was observed that dogs weighing more than 100 pounds have a 20% chance of bloat in their lifetime. Bloat can cause internal swelling, which compresses the liver and other organs.

Unfortunately, Beagles are also subject to this fatal disease.

Its scientific name is Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV). GDV is the second leading cause of death in dogs.

Different Types of Bloats

  1. Frothy Bloat: This happens when ruminating animals like cows consume legumes. Such animals bloat rapidly and may succumb in the grazing fields themselves.
  2. Free Gas Bloat: This happens when there is a physical obstruction in the bowels of the animal.

What are the Causes of Bloat in Beagles?

Eating too fast and not chewing the food properly and drinking excessive amounts of water after a meal are a couple of main clauses.

Moreover, having food in bowls that are elevated from the ground, excessive playing after eating food, and so on are all factors that can cause air to be stuck in the stomach. This can lead to bloating.

Related: How to Keep Beagle’s Ears Clean

What are the Factors That May Eventually Lead to the Bloating of Your Beagle?

Feeding your Beagle just one large meal for the whole day is not advised. Also, keeping it thin and underweight causes the dog to try and overeat. Hence, a balanced diet is preferred.

Having a family history of bloat, i.e., a sibling or parent of your Beagle that has suffered from bloat, increases the chances that your pet might have a Bloat tendency as well.

Adding moisture to dry foods, especially if Citric Acid is one of the added preservatives, the chances of bloat are really increased.

It was also observed that male dogs are more prone to bloat than female dogs. Older dogs (in the age group of 7-12 years) also carry a higher risk of bloating.

How to Decrease the Risk of Bloating?

You can start by introducing multiple smaller meals (around 2-3 per day) for the dog. Feeding dogs canned food also decreases the risk of bloat.

A complete restriction on any sort of exercise for a number of hours after a meal is necessary. Prevention of drinking large amounts of water at one time, especially after a meal, is a rudimentary measure.

Giving food to dogs in bowls that are not elevated is a start; ensuring that the dog is looking downwards while eating andencouraging slow eating of its food are all good methods of prevention.

Introducing a balanced diet also helps in digestion without any complications.

What are the Symptoms of Bloat?

Excessive drooling might be happening due to nausea felt by the dog due to GDV. Moreover, an outwards extending/distended belly, which is usually painful to the dog to apply pressure on.

The Beagle might be showing signs of general distress and restlessness. This is because it might be feeling uncomfortable while lying down. If left alone, the animal might end up collapsing after this.

Continuous and unproductive retching without actually vomiting might be a tell-tale sign of bloat occurring. There may be some water coming out of the dog’s mouth as well as large amounts of long stringy saliva during this symptom as well.

Upon gentle tapping of the distended stomach, just behind the last rib, a hollow, drum-like sound is made.

The Beagle is keeping itself in a standing position with its elbows pointing outwards and its neck extended. This is the dog’s attempt at improving its ability to breathe. This is because the rapidly distending/expanding stomach is making it difficult for the lungs to expand properly.

Any of the above signs warrant a visit to the vet immediately as they could mean the demise of your Beagle if left untreated.

As the disease progresses, the pet may begin to breathe heavily or be weak and collapse. A physical examination would show that, during this time, the pet may have elevated heart and respiratory rates. They may also have poor pulse quality and poor capillary refill times.

Related: Do Beagles Smell?

These are the Two Different Stages of Bloating

  1. Gastric Dilatation: There is a build-up of gas in the stomach of the Beagle. The gas prohibits the flow of blood from getting to the Beagle’s heart due to the pressure applied by the gas.
  2. Volvulus: This is the stage in which your Beagle’s life faces the most danger. It involves the gas-filled stomach to twist in on itself. This causes the entrance and exit of the stomach to become blocked.

This causes the blood flow to the pancreas to be cut off. This, in turn, causes the pancreas to release harmful substances that can cause the stopping of the heart and the death of the Beagle in a short time.

Mortality Rate of Pets Due to Bloat or Treatment of Bloat

The mortality rate due to GDV has been observed to be around 15%. Around 15-30% of dogs won’t survive bloat even after immediate surgery and care.

This percentage tends to increase as the disease’s severity and time untreated increases.

The following factors have been observed that contribute to increasing mortality rate:

  • Cardiac Arrhythmia, which is the improper beating rhythm of the heart before surgery.
  • Necessary requirements of removal of the spleen
  • Removal of a portion of the stomach prior to surgery usually due to loss of blood.

Death can occur after the surgery as well. This could be because of cardiac arrhythmia after the surgery.

Extensive cell death and organ loss due to the release of toxins by the returning of the stomach to its original position upon completion of the surgery can cause death after the surgery as well.

However, the most prominent promoting factor of the mortality rate of patients suffering from GDV is General Anaesthesia.

Gastropexy: An Effective Preventive Measure Against the Fatal Stage of Bloat

Gastropexy is an effective means that can help to prevent bloat. It involves surgically attaching the stomach to the body wall.

Some minimally invasive techniques of prophylactic Gastropexy are laparoscopic-assisted Gastropexy, endoscopically assisted gastropexy, and grid (limited approach) Gastropexy.

For the majority of recurring GDV cases, this does not prevent dilation but prevents future volvulus (twisting) if Gastric Dilatation occurs again. The absence of Gastropexy has seen the recurrence of bloat to be as high as 75%.

If your Beagle has had a family history of bloat, then Gastropexy would be a recommended procedure. Be sure to talk to your vet.

Related: How Fast Can Beagles Run?

Various Treatments

Extraction of Gas

This can be followed as long as the bloat has not reached the Volvulus Stage.

It involves the removal of gas from the Beagle’s stomach by inserting a feeding tube into the Beagle’s mouth and removing the gas through the mouth. This is also known as Gastric Decompression.

It is usually followed by flushing out the remaining food particles inside the stomach with the help of water.

Surgery

If the stomach has twisted, then the above option no longer remains viable. Surgery involves untwisting the stomach and returning it to its original place.

Surgery involves the full exploration of the abdomen and de-rotation of the stomach. The health of the stomach wall, spleen, and all other organs are first determined.

Partially removing the stomach wall, which is known as partial gastrectomy, as well as partial removal of the spleen (splenectomy) may be performed during surgery if necessary.

Surgery always carries a low risk of infection or breakdown of the suture line leading to a second surgery.

Puncturing the Stomach

This is when surgery is unsuccessful. It involves the vet puncturing the abdomen and letting all the excess gas out. This is done with the help of a needle or catheter, which is placed into the stomach from outside the body to release the air.

It also helps in passing the feeding tube inside the dog to initiate the first method of treatment. However, surgery is still needed to correct the abnormal shape of the abdomen and to get the stomach back in working order.

Other treatments involving managing shock if your Beagle has already gone into shock. It can also involve stabilizing the heart in the case of heart attacks.

Stabilization can involve the administration of general anesthesia, or it can also be done surgically. This is, however, usually determined by the veterinary surgeon as well as the stability of the pet.

One should never try to treat dog bloat at home. There are no safe home remedies that can effectively treat a dog suffering from Bloat/GDV. The only advised treatment can be given by a trained veterinarian.

How Much Time Does Your Beagle Have to be Treated for Bloat?

Bloat/GDV can kill a dog within an hour if left untreated. Getting professional medical help is of the utmost importance when dealing with bloat.

If the nearby veterinarian is closed, then seek out help from the nearest Animal ER. The more urgency shown, the better chances your Beagle has to live.

What is the Aftercare That Should be Carried Out?

Usually, the pet will be hospitalized and given intravenous fluids for several days. Tests will be done to check for heart arrhythmia. It can involve the heart beating too fast or slow.

For long term aftercare, dietary changes will be made. This will include 2-3 small meals daily and continued monitoring of the pet for any signs of recurrence of the disease.

Not allowing the dog to play and enforcing some mandatory resting time is also ensured.

Not allowing the drinking of water for a little while after a meal should also be enforced.

Endnotes

The health of our furry companions should be on the top of our priority list! A preventive measure is always better than no measures at all.

In the case of bloat, speedy treatment is always advised to maximize the chances of survival of your Beagle. Getting a prophylactic (preventive) Gastropexy surgery if your Beagle has a family history of bloat might just be the deciding factor for it to have a long and healthy life.

Giving your Beagle a balanced diet with multiple small meals and regulated water is the best preventive measure of all!