Bloat risk factors


Elusive Moderator
Staff member
Yes, same people (well, some of the same people) but a completely different study - different dogs, different timeframe, different methodology, etc. And some diffferent (additional) findings too.


Boxer Insane
PS - I see that the article was written by a "Canine Nutritional Consultant" not sure how relevant

Not relevant at all, as this is a self-stylized title and I see nothing anywhere to indicate that the author has any sort of certification or degree in canine nutrition. (I am not knocking self-taught individuals - I am largely one myself - and the author has 30 years breeding experience and a longtime interest in the subject. However, the lead researcher on the Purdue studies has an MA, a VMD, an MPH, a PhD and a Fellowship, and 40 years experience in conducting scientific studies, so his conclusions should probably be given some weight as well. ;))

in reading other discussions on that board, many of the posts stated that the Purdue Study has been picked apart and shot down many times by experienced breeders....that the raised food bowls are considered by most as correlative, not causitive.

That is exactly what the Purdue Study says. Raised food bowls correlate with a 110% increased risk of bloat. Nowhere will anyone who actually reads the literature find Purdue saying that raised food bowls cause bloat.

Are there that many large/giant breed experts out there that either really don't know about the Purdue Study or just don't buy the findings?

I think they either haven't actually read the Study, or they don't understand what they've read.

do you take the advice of a statistical study OR the advice of an experienced breeder who has real-life experience with these breeds???

The people participating in the Purdue Study had real-life experience with these breeds.....The Purdue Study was not a statistical study, it was a propsective study (most are retrospective) - they chose the dogs before any bloating had occurred, took baseline information on a variety of factors, updated the information at least annually, and after following the dogs for many years found strong correlations between certain factors and bloat. This allowed them to devise a list of risk factors (again, not causes) so that people can make informed decisions on how to best avoid bloat in a bloat-prone breed.

I have found the following link in response to the studies. Just wondering what the professionals here thought.

This was posted elsewhere in response to the above-mentioned op-ed piece, but works well here, too:

OT on the bloat thing - I hadn't read the Great Dane Lady's opinion before, but I have to say that she has completely misinterpreted the Purdue information.

The first sentence tells you that she hasn't read the Purdue information closely - she speaks of "the claims that chest size, elevated dishes, citric acid, high fat diets etc., make the large/giant breeds (Great Danes) more prone to bloat." Well, that's *not* what the Purdue study says - what the Purdue study says is that these things *increase the risk* in dogs that are already prone to bloat.

She writes, "With that information in mind, it is logical that the majority, if not ALL of the dogs that came in to Dr. Glickman's survey, have been fed with an elevated dish. This is simply how he came to his "opinion" that elevated dishes cause bloat."

Again, this is completely inaccurate. Dr. Glickman looked at Great Danes who were fed from an elevated dish, and Great Danes who were fed from the floor. (And other breeds, as well, of course.) More of the dogs fed from an elevated dish bloated than the dogs fed from the floor, representing an 110% increased risk factor.

She writes, "In the early stages of this research, their hypothesis was -- the measurements of height, width and depth of the dog's chest - chest ration - was the determining factor for those prone to bloating. And if your dog fell within a certain range, it was at risk and would more than likely bloat."

That may have been true in the early stages - in the final stages, what was found was that dogs with a chest that was narrow and deep *compared to the average for the breed* bloated more often.

She writes, "The Bloat study says -- one should not use a food with fat in the first four ingredients, or a food should not contains citric acid (a natural preservative) and the food should have rendered meat meal containing bone in the first four ingredients. Dr. Glickman's study suggests that these things cause bloat in canines."

Again, this is untrue. The study states that dogs fed foods with fat in the first four ingredients bloated more often than dogs fed foods without it; that dogs whose owners pre-moistened foods preserved with citric acid bloated more often than dogs whose owners didn't, or whose pre-moistened food didn't contain citric acid; and that dogs fed food with meat and bone meal in the first four ingredients bloated less than dogs fed food without it. Dr. Glickman's writings only speak of risk factors, and not of cause - he has stated quite clearly and several times that they don't know what causes bloat.

She writes, "If you ask any well seasoned, knowledgeable breeder who lives with these animals, they will tell you stress is the trigger for bloat. Not the cause, but the trigger."

This is exactly what the Purdue research found, as well.

As a side note, I do find it a bit ironic that she criticizes Purdue for presenting their findings from several long-term studies on bloat, yet promotes a diet regimen for bloat-prone dogs based on nothing but her own personal opinions of what causes it....


Boxer Booster
Thank you JulieM!!! That really helped me to understand the difference in opinion from the Great Dane Lady. I appreciate your response more than you know.

I am not an expert by any means....just a regular person who wants to do what's best - but sometimes it's so hard to distinguish what is "the best" when there's so much information out there....



Boxer Insane
Does anyone know where I can find the part of the actual Purdue study that mentions the finding about the exercise before/after feeding? Ive found references to it, but not the actual part or the study that states it :)


Boxer Insane
I'd imagine it's touched on in the "Non-dietary risk factors for gastric dilatation-volvulus in large and giant breed dogs" study published in the November 15, 2000 issue of the JAVMA; however the abstract doesn't mention it and the full text of the article isn't available online to non-subscribers. Some libraries have back-issues of the JAVMA.

Purdue's Bloat Notes from April 1996 mention it, though (emphasis theirs):

Non-dietary factors not associated with higher risk included exercise patterns...


Boxer Buddy
I don't know much about the canine bloat except for what I remember when Trudy had it in 2004 (she was about 10 1/2 years old). It was a nice sunny Sunday afternoon and she and Zola had eaten in the morning. She had been outside in the backyard and had come in and couldn't get comfortable. She'd whine and cry and move around. Mike and I watched her for awhile. It seemed like her belly was fuller/rounder but her gums were pale. I took our daughter and a friend to the swimming pool. Mike called within a half hour and said he thought she should be seen by the vet. So we went to the emergency vet hospital. They took her into an exam room and took an xray and pulled some of the air out of her stomach with a syringe. The vet brought us into the room with her and said we had to make a quick decision to operate or put her down. When we came into the room, Trudy turned and looked at us as if to say "please give me a chance" I left the decision to Mike, as I could never say no to her. We elected to have the surgery done. I think she was there for 3-4 days (a day longer than expected as her blood pressure or heart rate was low--- she had run several miles several times a week with Mike since we got her). I've heard from several people more knowledgable than I, that it's a tough condition to treat (sudden onset and rapid progression). The surgery isn't always successful. We're very blessed that we had Trudy for another 18-20 months and would do it again.

Someone wrote on this subject that they lost their dog to bloat. I'm so sorry I know it's horrible to lose your beloved boxer. I wish you wouldn't have lost them. Please, don't beat yourself for not being there when it happened or where you put the dish (I don't think Trudy had eaten for several hours and she was more sedentary if she wasn't running with Mike or playing with us).
I think it's a hard condition to treat even if you get to the vet fast.

One thing the vet told us also was that if you're having your dog spayed to have them attach the stomach to the chest wall or outside wall to prevent it twisting.

Trudy's mom
Trudy (12/93 to 1/07)
Zola 5/00


Boxer Buddy
Awesome post, there's always something to learn.

I noticed this from a recent post:

"One thing the vet told us also was that if you're having your dog spayed to have them attach the stomach to the chest wall or outside wall to prevent it twisting."

I had no idea that was an option. I've never heard anyone mention it until now- and my vet hasn't said anything either. But it's interesting that they'd do that simply as a preventative measure.


Super Boxer
Awesome post, there's always something to learn.

I noticed this from a recent post:

"One thing the vet told us also was that if you're having your dog spayed to have them attach the stomach to the chest wall or outside wall to prevent it twisting."

I had no idea that was an option. I've never heard anyone mention it until now- and my vet hasn't said anything either. But it's interesting that they'd do that simply as a preventative measure.

That is interesting, because I didn't think that spaying was such an involved procedure that it woudl be easy/close/convenient to also stitch the stomach for this.

My dog had a bloat incident and survived. I tend to agree with the purdue study that seems to be the topic of debate in this thread. I think it has a lot to do with genetics than anything. My dog is one big walking genetic defect. Before the bloat incident, he had advanced hip dysplasia at 18 months.

The only reason my dog survived was because of the hip dysplasia I already knew where an advanced surgical team was located 5 minutes from my house that was 24/7/365. At the time, I knew about bloat and knew boxers were at higher risk, but I couldn't rattle off the symptoms. When he was salivating and panting and his head was drooping and his eyes just looked like he was fading away, I did not equate that to bloat -- I just knew something was wrong big time, and because it came on so suddenly I knew it needed very quick attention and it was Sunday at around 6pm, so I went to the same surgical/ER center I used for the hip dysplasia and luckily they were very, very competent and wasted no time by triaging him correctly as am immediate emergency and basically told me there wasn't even time for them to ask me what I thought was wrong -- they just took him back to surgery.

They came out and told me it was bloat and that the stomach had started to twist, but they got it in time. They recommeneded attaching the stomach to prevent twist in the future, and took that option.

The dog fully recovered and has not had a repeat incident, and that was at least 5 years ago.

He is a speed eater. He was on kibble at that time. It was preimum kibble, one the higher end ones that requires little volume. I never raised his bowl or wetted his food. I believe he got into a trash bag that was waiting to be taken out, and what he might have ingested (if anything) is unknown.

I have no way of knowing, but I would not be suprised if his bloodline was full of bloat victims -- if any of them lived through the hip dysplasia that is.

I would not recommend people worry about whether or not to raise the bowl or wet the kibble. You either believe or agree with the purdue study or not -- it is each one's personal choice. In any event, find out in advance where you can take your dog at any time of any day and get prompt & proper diagnosis and surgical intervention.


Boxer Pal
Bloat or something else?

A month ago our 4 year old female boxer, sat by herself in a dark area and couldn't get comfortable. Then she finally vomitted (one big pile of food) and she felt better. Last night she went to the same area by herself, however she moaned and didn't want to move. Her stomach did not seem bloated or swelling. I have pushed on her stomach and it doesn't appear to hurt her. Today she is doing better and is almost acting normal. I fed her a half portion of breakfast. The oddest part is that she will not go through the dog door anymore!

Any suggestions?