Canine bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), affects mostly large and giant breeds and is found in the Alaskan Malamute. In cases of gastric dilatation, the stomach fills with gas. Increasing pressure prevents the gas from escaping by compressing both ends of the stomach. Most cases involve gastric volvulus, in which the stomach twists, cutting off the openings to and exits from the stomach.
Bloat is extremely painful and life-threatening. Almost one-third of dogs will die, or must be euthanized following a bloat episode. Dogs suffering from volvulus cannot swallow, belch or vomit, and they will drool and show increasing discomfort as stomach gases expand. The pressure causes the abdomen to distend, and the stomach may feel very hard or make a noise like a drum when tapped.
Known risk factors include a deep, narrow chest, old age and feeding one large meal of dry-type food daily. It is best to manage this latter risk by feeding smaller, more frequent meals. If you suspect your dog is bloating, get him to the vet immediately-bloat is an emergency! When the dog is affected by dilatation but the stomach has not twisted, the vet will insert a stomach tube down the throat to allow gases to escape. In cases of volvulus, in which a tube cannot reach the stomach via the esophagus, a hollow needle will be inserted through the gut wall. When the dog has recovered, it is advisable to have the vet perform gastroplexy, in which the stomach is tacked to the gut wall to prevent it from twisting in the future. Without this surgery, an affected dog is at dramatically increased risk of torsioning in the event of a repeat incident. Dogs that have bloated and survived are a high risk to bloat again.
Source: Developed from information obtained from "Risk Factors for Canine Bloat", Jerold S. Bell, DVM