Benson’s Story

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Dear Editor,

We are writing in honor of our handsome and courageous Labradoodle Benson who died last Saturday from a medical condition we never heard of as well as so many others we have since talked to called Bloat-Gastric-Torsion-and-GDV (Gastric Dilation Volvulus) in dogs.

Although we knew many other dog owners, had Benson cared for frequently at two veterinary facilities, we were never informed about this devastating condition which primarily affects large dogs like Benson.

Some dogs may develop Bloating from certain activities which may cause anxiety or stress and breathing patterns which allow air to pass into the stomach, (aerophobia), and some foods which may cause excessive gas to form in the stomach. This is a serious event and must be treated without delay. The more crucial situation is when the stomach becomes twisted (Bloat Torsion and GVD) sometimes called “Stomach Flipping”.

I am told the stomach is held at both ends similar to a hammock, and under certain conditions can twist (Torsion) or turn over, cutting off critical blood supply to the stomach, spleen and other vital organs. This may be caused by increased activity after eating or drinking. This rapidly changes the situation from serious to catastrophic and requires emergency care immediately.

Bloat Torsion and GVD mostly occurs in large breed dogs, but Bloat can occur in any dog, and this is Dead Serious Stuff. One of the vets I talked to lost his dog over night, and another vet assistant went shopping. When she returned, her dog was dead. Talk to your vet. Learn the symptoms. Tell others. Write down hospital emergency numbers. Go online. There are some great websites with lots of information.

Be careful with “Home Remedies”. Always check with your vet first. There are prevention procedures you can discuss with your veterinarian; do it. When Benson became sick, he had all the classic symptoms, but we did not recognize them. When he became critical, we received first aid treatment during the night, then took him to the hospital the next day for surgery.

We waited too long in each instance. Had we got him into surgery sooner, he might still be with us. Benson was loved by every body because of his kind and lovable character. Help us memorialize his untimely death by calling attention to this silent killer, and maybe saving your own Benson.

LeRoy and Karen Uncles

Price, Utah

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