Although collies don't necessarily have a hereditary tendency toward the veterinary emergency known as bloat, their build makes this condition a real possibility. Bloat, formally known as gastric torsion, often occurs in deep-chested breeds like collies. There are ways to help avoid bloat and keep your beloved dog safe.
This is one scary disease -- it's always a true veterinary emergency. Gas and fluids build up in the stomach. The organ can actually twist, cutting off the blood supply. At that point, the condition becomes gastric dilatation-volvulus. Only emergency surgery can save your collie's life. The Collie Health Foundation funds medical research for major collie health risks, with bloat research a high priority.
Bloat seems to occur out of the blue. One minute your collie is fine, but half an hour later you're on your way to the emergency vet. Suspect bloat if your collie starts pacing, panting, drooling and attempting to throw up with nothing regurgitated. Her abdomen might be painful and distended. She could also collapse and go into shock. Don't waste a minute if you think your collie is affected. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
When you get to the vet, she'll take X-rays of your collie's stomach to see if it has twisted. If that's the case, your collie must go into surgery. If the stomach hasn't twisted, your vet might insert a tube into the dog's esophagus for relief of the fluid and gas buildup in the stomach. If your dog does undergo surgery to untwist the stomach, the vet might perform a procedure known as stomach tacking. This permanently adheres the stomach to the abdominal cavity so the dog can't bloat again.
Rather than feed your collie one large meal a day, break it up into two or more servings. You might want to feed canned food rather than kibble. If you must feed kibble, wet it down before giving it to your dog. Don't feed your dog for a couple of hours after vigorous exercise, or right before you plan to go out for a run or long hike. Since stress might also factor in, avoid feeding your collie if she's very excited or nervous about something.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.