A dog’s stomach should typically feel soft to the touch. If your dog’s stomach feels unusually hard, that may indicate that they have a digestive problem. Cushing’s disease, peritonitis, and gastric dilatation volvulus are among the common stomach conditions that result in a hard stomach. You should immediately take your dog to the vet if their stomach is hard.
Many diverse conditions, including various stomach problems, infections, and internal bleeding, can result in a hard stomach.
Being a responsible pet parent means keeping a watch out for stomach problems. If left untreated, stomach troubles in dogs can result in major medical complications, therefore you don’t want to abandon your dog in pain. Take your dog to the vet right away if they exhibit signs of a stomach issue, such as vomiting or diarrhea.
Why then is my dog’s tummy more rigid than usual? This article will discuss the causes of a dog’s hard stomach and what you may do to treat it. The following information is important if your dog’s stomach is unusually hard.
Should the stomach of my dog feel hard?
For this portion of the physical examination, start by looking at your dog’s stomach. Look for lumps and bumps, learn how a dog’s stomach should feel, and learn how to check for musculoskeletal problems. After reading the last piece in this series, you should be fully equipped to examine your dog for a screening.
How to Check Your Dogs Stomach
The examination is rather simple: gently massage your hands into the stomach of your dog, beginning slightly behind the ribs. You will be acquiring a sense of what is typical and then keeping an eye out for any upcoming alterations, just as with all other sections of the body.
If your pet has just eaten, you might feel a bulge in the left side of the tummy, which is where the stomach is located. This is common immediately after eating. Continue moving your hands lightly over the entire area as you move toward the back of the body. A dog’s stomach should not be bloated and should feel soft. A hard stomach in your dog may indicate bloat and necessitate emergency medical care.
any physical examination (palpation) that makes you sigh or have trouble breathing.
Any sign of pain is serious and needs to be treated right away; sudden, intense abdominal pain is referred to as an acute abdomen and can be brought on by a number of illnesses, such as pancreatitis (pancreatic inflammation), sepsis (a stomach infection brought on by a ruptured bowel or foreign object like a foxtail), bleeding into the stomach (from rat bait or a ruptured spleen), trauma, tumors, or abscesses.
One of the main symptoms of bloat or GDV is a hard, rigid, or enlarged abdomen. This requires quick intervention.
Why is the stomach of my dog so swollen and stiff?
Never try to determine the reason of your dog’s stomach problems yourself as this can be risky as stomach swelling in dogs can be deadly as well. Get your dog to a veterinary hospital or an emergency vet right away if the abdomen of your dog appears bloated or out of the ordinary.
Several factors can result in a dog’s stomach swelling:
Untreated gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), also known as “the mother of all emergencies,” can be fatal to a dog in a matter of hours. Bloat occurs when food or gas causes a dog’s stomach to expand. GDV occurs when the bloated stomach rotates, trapping the gas inside and cutting off the blood flow to the stomach.
There doesn’t seem to be a single cause for GDV, however swallowing air plays a role, and strenuous exercise right after eating may also act as a trigger. GDV is quite painful. GDV’s actual cause is still up for debate. Several of the several potential factors that could raise a dog’s risk of GDV include:
- having a large chest. The danger of bloat is highest in breeds like the Great Dane, St. Bernard, and Weimaraner; in fact, dogs above 99 pounds have a 20% chance of bloat. Small dogs can also have the illness, though it is uncommon.
- simply giving your dog one meal each day
- elevating the food and water bowls.
- a history of bloat/GDV in the family
- eating too fast
- Dogs 7 to 12 years old are more at risk since they are older.
Bloat must be treated immediately with emergency care, which may involve decompressing the stomach to release extra gas, controlling shock, and establishing heart stability. Once the patient is stable, surgery is frequently performed. Do not hesitate to take your dog to a veterinary hospital right away if his or her abdomen appears enlarged or distended or if the animal exhibits any signs of discomfort.
Bloat is difficult to prevent because so many factors may contribute to its development, but there are a few things you can do to lower your dog’s risk, such as:
- Give your dog at least two meals every day.
- Add canned goods
- Make sure your dog has a nap after a meal; avoid vigorous exercise when you’re full.
Why does my dog’s stomach feel constricted?
Would you be interested in learning about a fatal but curable ailment that might harm your dog? Of course! Unfortunately, we frequently discover that owners of dogs with this ailment were completely unaware of it until it was seriously endangering their animal’s life. Before they are faced with a seriously ill pet and the pricey surgery that will be required to save the pet’s life, we wish to inform pet owners about this risky illness.
Although it is unknown how many dogs in the US are diagnosed with gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) annually (the data simply has never been gathered), reliable estimates put the number in the tens of thousands, with some estimates as high as 60,000 instances annually. All dog owners ought to be aware of this problem, as well as how to spot and respond to bloat symptoms. This is a must-read if you own one of the high risk breeds (mentioned below).
If untreated, gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) is a dangerous disorder that can be fatal. GDV, often known as “bloat,” happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid and twists as a result. GDV can proceed swiftly and without prior notice. There is always a crisis.
Simply having a distended stomach is referred to as a “simple dilatation or bloat. This straightforward bloating may develop on its own and may go away by itself. Bloat without twisting can still be fatal, but the risk depends on its intensity and length, according to Maureen Luschini, VMD, DACVECC, a board-certified specialist in veterinary emergency and critical care. It may continue for hours without becoming life-threatening in some circumstances.
According to Dr. Luschini, the issue is that it could at any time proceed to a GDV, in which the stomach twists and flips on its axis.
When that occurs, the pet owner won’t be aware of it. Because of this, keeping an eye on a bloat condition at home is quite risky for the owner.
Your dog is in a potentially fatal situation as a result of this stomach twisting and flipping. The surrounding organs are put under strain and have lessened blood flow when the stomach is significantly bloated with food, liquid, or gas. The twisted stomach is more serious since it entirely cuts off blood flow to vital organs and can shock a person because it affects blood flow throughout the entire body. Gastric dilatation-volvulus is the name for this condition (GDV).
“Large arteries and veins are under pressure as the stomach grows. According to Dr. Luschini, the stomach’s blood supply is cut off, poisonous substances accumulate, and tissues start to deteriorate.” Once GDV begins, dogs can enter shock extremely fast, and every minute without treatment raises the possibility of more injury and perhaps death.
Although it can happen at any age, middle-aged dogs tend to experience bloat the most. According to Purdue University research, danger rose 20% for every year of age. Nearly all breeds have been known to have experienced stomach dilatation (with or without volvulus), according to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, however the ailment is most frequently observed in large breed dogs with deep chests. These dogs typically have a high proportion of height to width “ratio of height to width Great Danes are 5 to 8 times more likely to bloat than a dog with a modest height to breadth ratio, according to the American Kennel Club.
Even though research is ongoing, the precise cause of GDV remains unknown. The following risk factors are believed to be associated with bloat:
- taking a quick bite
- consuming a lot of water in a short amount of time
- Elevated bowls for food
- stress (anxious dogs are thought to be more prone, as are dogs in stressful situations or environments such as boarding kennels)
- following a meal, exercise
- genetic influences
- greater age
GDV can happen suddenly and can move quite swiftly. Increasing your dog’s chances of survival requires being able to spot the early warning symptoms. Early indications of bloat may include:
- distended or enlarged abdomen
- uncomfortable stomach
- overall distresses appearance
- Retching or making unsuccessful attempts to vomit
- excessive salivation
- fast breathing or panting
- collapse or be unable to stand
The sooner the dog receives treatment for GDV, the better chance it has of surviving. The sick dog’s recommended course of treatment depends on how serious the condition is. At VMC, we strive for quick diagnosis confirmation, quick patient comfort (by relieving as much gas pressure as possible and by administering painkillers), quick stabilization, and quick readiness for operation. Bloated dogs without volvulus are typically treatable non-surgically.
“We have these pets diagnosed and in a much more comfortable state in a matter of minutes once we obtain the owner’s approval to seek therapy. When bloat is the main issue, the VMC operates like a well-oiled machine, claims Dr. Luschini. “We may discuss treatment and overall prognosis with the dog’s owners once we have more conclusive tests and are monitoring the dog’s comfort and vitals. There are a few unmistakable diagnostic signs that can let us know we’re dealing with a high-risk operation with a slim chance of success. In certain situations, we want the pet owner to be able to make an informed decision about whether to proceed with surgery.
The stomach must be surgically untwisted in order to be placed in the proper position. The procedure enables the vet to evaluate the extent of the harm brought on by the stomach’s twist blocking blood flow. Damaged tissue will be removed if any is present. There might not be enough live tissue to save in extreme cases if the illness has gone untreated for a longer period of time. Most of the time, pet owners can be warned of this danger prior to undergoing surgery with the right pre-surgical diagnostics.
A gastropexy is typically also carried out during the surgical operation. The stomach is stitched to the abdominal wall during a gastropexy. If bloat strikes again, this is intended to maintain the stomach’s position and prevent twisting. The probability of successfully preventing a GDV is 95%.
Timothy Robinson, DVM, DACVS, a board-certified specialist in veterinary surgery, states, “I strongly advise that all gigantic breeds and other at-risk breeds undergo a preventive gastropexy. “I would much rather see healthy dogs in the operating room for this treatment than see them in severe condition after a GDV surgery. This technique can be done at the time of neutering or on its own.
Dogs with GDV will not survive if they are not treated. However, if the illness is treated quickly, up to 80% of dogs do survive.
The American College of Veterinary Surgeons claims that as “disease severity and time grow,” the chance for consequences rises. Patients are among the factors that have been demonstrated to be responsible for bad results.
- with symptoms persisting for longer than six hours
- Having cardiac irregularities before surgery
- needing the removal of a section of the stomach because the blood supply has been cut off
- requiring the spleen to be removed
Of course, the prognosis varies for animals with other medical issues. Dogs may also need intensive care after surgery, including the potential need for blood transfusions and other specialist treatment, especially if they have any of the risk factors mentioned above.
Bloat can be prevented by taking preventative actions. The following are some currently advised tactics:
- Feed more regularly and in smaller portions, and limit exercise for 1-2 hours after meals.
- Useless to use higher food bowls.
- Never allow the dog to consume a lot of water at once.
- Avoid working out vigorously after eating.
All of these precautions won’t prevent the dog from bloating, but they might lessen the severity of the issue if it does.
A life-threatening condition is GDV. It is fatal if the problem is not treated. If a regular veterinarian is unavailable after hours or is unfamiliar with treating this ailment, pet owners should be aware of the location of the closest veterinary emergency hospital. Call ahead if you can and let them know you think you may have bloat. The sooner your pet receives veterinarian care, the better chance they have of making a full recovery. Time is of the essence when dealing with cases of bloat.
If your dog has a real GDV, it must be surgically treated for it to be curable. The only option that will spare the dog’s pain is euthanasia because surgery and post-operative care are expensive. There is no safe, “wait and see” strategy that can shield people from pain, misery, and final demise. We advise owners of breeds in the high risk group to set aside money for a preventive gastropexy rather than taking a chance on an expensive emergency surgery with a sick animal. This preventive procedure will also be covered by many pet insurance providers.
How can I treat a dog whose stomach is hard?
Your dog’s stomach must be bloated, hard, or have an unusual shape for the disease to be true bloat and not weight gain. Make a quick call to your veterinarian if you observe this. You should take him to the emergency vet if it is after business hours. Bloat typically happens when food or gas causes the dog’s stomach to expand.
How long before a dog dies from bloat?
Bloat in dogs is a sudden, fatal illness that, if untreated, can kill a dog in a matter of hours. The outlook is frequently bleak even when an owner does suspect a case of bloat and contacts a veterinarian right after.