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German Shepherd Develops Bloat, Fully Recovers with Surgery

By Christy True
published: February 24, 2023 - updated: February 28, 2023 • 3 min. read
Tyr, a GSD, in the snow.

Diagnosis: Bloat (GDV)
Cost: $6,632 | Healthy Paws reimbursed: $5,968
Coverage options:  90 percent reimbursement | $250 deductible

Tyr, an eight-year-old German shepherd is a 100-pound dog who loves to snuggle, said his pet parent Ashley. He’s not all couch potato, though; he also enjoys walks and barking at the neighbor’s dogs.

In October 2021, Tyr started retching unproductively and pacing. Ashley’s husband, Bryant, then noticed a bulge on his abdomen. They rushed him to the emergency hospital, where the vet x-rayed him and diagnosed him with Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) or bloat. Dogs can develop bloat when their stomach fills with gas, putting pressure on the dog’s diaphragm. If the stomach gets twisted, it can cause shock or even death if not treated immediately.

Swallowing too much food, fluid, or air can cause bloat. Larger breeds such as German shepherds, and older dogs, are more at risk of bloat.

“Even if you have an adult dog, get pet insurance. You never know when bloat, or getting bit by a snake or hit by a car, or cancer could happen, and the insurance will give you peace of mind to not worry about the emergency surgery bill.”

— pet parent Ashley

Tyr was stabilized with intravenous fluids and oxygen therapy; then the vet performed gastric decompression to release whatever was trapped in the stomach. This decompression involves passing a tube down the esophagus into the stomach or inserting a large-bore needle through the skin, followed by flushing the stomach to get out any remaining food.

After he was stabilized, Tyr needed surgery for the veterinarian to put his stomach back in the correct position, remove dead or damaged tissue, and prevent the stomach from re-twisting.

“Within two hours of arrival, he was in surgery. We are lucky that there was no tissue damage, and Tyr’s prognosis was good,” Ashley said.

Ashley said that the surgery was successful, and Tyr’s recovery also went smoothly.

Tyr, a GSD. with a cone on.
Tyr, recovering from his surgery.

How is Tyr doing today?

Now, more than a year later, Ashley said Tyr is doing wonderfully. “You would never know he had this big scary emergency,” she wrote.

Protect your pet

How pet insurance helped

Since this experience, Ashley urges all pet parents she meets to get pet insurance. They enrolled Tyr as a puppy, which paid off when he was diagnosed with a skin allergy when he turned two.

Besides the bloat scare, pet insurance has helped cover diagnostics, monthly shots, and pills to manage the allergies.

“Because of his skin allergy, we file claims almost monthly and get reimbursed very quickly (I’m talking within 48 hours); I have never been given the run-around with Healthy Paws,” she said.

But the bloat emergency and the expensive surgery and hospitalization made Ashley really grateful to have insurance.

“My husband was able to hand the front desk the credit card without wondering if we could cover it; since we have the 90% reimbursement plan. Even if you have an adult dog, get pet insurance. You never know when bloat, or getting bit by a snake or hit by a car, or cancer could happen, and the insurance will give you peace of mind to not worry about the emergency surgery bill,” Ashley said.

The claim scenarios described here are intended to show the types of situations that may result in claims. These scenarios should not be compared to any other claim. Whether or to what extent a particular loss is covered depends on the facts and circumstances of the loss, the terms and conditions of the policy as issued and applicable law.

Insured persons providing testimonials in this report have not received compensation for their statements.

Christy True and Tomas
By Christy True

Christy has been writing about pets for Healthy Paws for 28 dog years. She previously worked in journalism, hence her penchant for writing about offbeat animal studies and the latest viral pet trends. She has been owned by several dogs, and right now, Tomas, a Mexican street dog rescue, is staring at her because he wants a walk. Outside of work, she can usually be found sliding down a mountain near her home in Bend, Ore.

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