This is a cautionary tale in case any dog owners out there are unfamiliar with this condition - as we were until a couple of days ago.
We lost our beloved Chibby*, our 14 year old golden cocker spaniel, early on Tuesday morning to Gastric Dilation..
This illness was entirely unknown to my wife and I and we were shocked and devastated by the speed - and the seriousness - of the subsequent progression of his condition.
It came from nowhere – on Monday morning I took him out for his morning walk as usual – and there was absolutely nothing amiss..
During the afternoon he started lying down in strange places around the house he’d not used before.
Clearly, something was wrong - but what? We became increasingly concerned as the afternoon wore on and so we took him to the vet at 5.30pm where, after being examined and an x-ray, he was diagnosed with gastric dilation.. his stomach was inflated. Neither of us knew anything about this life-threatening condition – and few seem to understand it.
Suddenly we were being asked serious questions of the kind that no pet owner wants to hear.. the last one of which was "Would you like to put him to sleep now..?" We weren't ready for this rapid and nightmarish descent into life & death decisions that were aimed at our beloved dog. We were trying to play catch-up but things were happening too fast.
We decided to go for the option of relieving the pressure on the dog's stomach via a small incision. This would take the pressure off his diaphragm and would enable him to be more comfortable. The vet did warn us however that the condition could return.
He would stay overnight at the vet's following this procedure and the vet promised to telephone us if necessary.
The vet performed the procedure later and he put Chibby on a drip as he'd been unable to drink.
However, at 1am he had a heart attack and the vet was unable to resuscitate him.. and that was that. From start to finish it was all over in a few short hours.
There seems to be confusion over factors that predispose a dog to acquire this condition.. (our dog didn't seem to match the profile). All I would say is that if your dog suddenly becomes restless, tries to vomit but is unable to, and you can feel his stomach has become enlarged and hard.. then take him without delay to a vet..
* We didn't know when he bought him as a 7 month old pup that his great-grandfather was Albert (Cruft's BIS in 1996). He's greatly missed.