I had a German Shepherd dog named Salo, he was such a wonderful boy. He was a very large tan and black shepherd with a beautiful black saddle on his back and about 110lbs. He had an issue with allergies when he ate chicken but other than that he was healthy, never any other issues. We enjoyed his company until he was 9 years of age.
In the summer of 2008, early one morning we heard him next to the bed burping and passing gas, not thinking anything of it we went back to sleep. At some point he got up and went into the kitchen to get a drink of water. When my husband got up to get ready for work he noticed Salo was on the floor in front of his water bowl. He hollered for me to come quickly, and I did. I was quite surprised to see that Salo was lying flat on the floor and his stomach area seemed very bloated. I was working at a vet clinic at the time so I called the veterinarian on call that morning and she said this sounded like an emergent situation and to load him up and meet her at the clinic as soon as possible. I did so. We unloaded him and brought him into the x-ray room, there we did radiographs. The Dr. was pretty sure she knew what was happening but just needed to confirm the diagnosis, and she did so with those radiographs. He was down with a Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (G.D.V.) or simply Bloat.
For those that are unsure as to what this is this is it’s a life-threatening situation that occurs most commonly in large and giant breed dogs and it is when the stomach fills with gas and/or food, expands, and then rotates, trapping gas inside the stomach and cutting off blood supply to the stomach and spleen. As pressure in the stomach builds up and cannot be released, the stomach tissue can then die and the stomach can even rupture. This needs to be dealt with in surgery as soon as possible so that the stomach can be untwisted to hopefully bring life back to the tissue. Every minute this is left in this condition is a minute too long. I left the surgery suite knowing that this was in the best hands, the doctor. knew what she was doing. Time ticked by, minutes felt like hours. I was approached by the doctor in the waiting area with bad news. She had flipped the stomach and waited for some life to come back into the tissue but it had been cut off from the blood supply for too long, there was no saving Salo that day. He was not going to come home. I gave the ok and let her humanely euthanize him on the operating table. She said it was the right thing to do and I trust her opinion. That was the day I lost my Salo, he was a wonderful German Shepherd and he is missed every day.
If there is one thing that I hope to pass on from this experience this is it. Pay attention to your dogs signs, if you find that your large or giant breed dog seems to be gassy, bloated, or lethargic call your local veterinarian as soon as possible. If it is after hours don’t wait: call an emergency clinic. If your pet has a G.D.V. or Bloat it doesn’t always have to end this way, remember every minute counts.