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Rosco’s Bloat Story

On Sunday morning December 12th 2010 Rosco got access to a bag of dried dog food and kept eating even after he was full. We rushed Rosco off to the vets straight away as his stomach was huge and he looked in pain. The vet tried to make Rosco vomit up the food but it wasn’t working. The vet then decided to operate on Rosco and removed all the food from his stomach. The vet was astonished at the amount of food that was removed. The vet said the last bit of dog food didn’t swell up as there was no fluid left in Rosco’s stomach. If the last bit of food had of expanded Rosco’s stomach would of burst and he would of died.
After alot of TLC at the vets for 5 days Rosco got home. He was so skinny and looked a little worse for wear after such a major operation. The vet advised to put Rosco on 3-4 feeds a day of porridge and cat food to help build him up again as his stomach was stretched. After a few days Rosco bloated out really bad again and was rushed back to the vets. They gave him an xray and operated immediately. They told us how serious the situation was and our hearts sank, we thought we were going to lose him. Thankfully Rosco pulled through and the vets this time stapled his stomach to his abdomen wall. This would help to stop Roscos stomach flipping in future, it’s not 100% full proof as sometimes the staple can come loose if a dog bloats again.

Photo of Rosco after surgery














Rosco returned home on the 20th December. He was ever skinner and he was highly stressed out. It was very hard to keep him calm and not let him get excited when he met the other dogs. We put the stair gate back up again in the sitting room and kept him separated from the other dogs. We let him into the kitchen to the other dogs when we could supervise them. He was most relaxed in the kitchen as that’s where he’s slept since he was a puppy. He’s never been on his own until he had the surgery and hated been separated from the other dogs. Trevor slept downstairs for a few nights in the sitting room to make sure Rosco would settle and was ok. We were on high alert for a few weeks later after the last episode of having to rush him back to the vets.

The vet said that Rosco had to be fed chicken and rice for a few weeks until his stomach could manage the dog food again. The food proportions were very small and Rosco always seemed hungry.

On the 29th December Rosco got the cone off and he was a different dog. He was alot quieter with the cone on and now he wanted to run and play. He was still recovering and we were on strict rules from the vets. No Play, No Exercise, No Excitement and No Stress. It was tough trying to keep him calm and we’d started to rotate the dogs to make sure his buddy Banan wouldn’t entice him to play so much. Rosco’s diet still consisted of the chicken and rice for a few weeks. The vet said we could then try him of the dried dog food again but we had to soak it first.

The first experience of dried dog food didn’t go well and Rosco started to bloat out again. By then Trev and I had both learned how to wind Rosco and we managed to get all his wind up. We had to do this after every feed so we then started to look into other dried foods that were easier on the digestive system. We tried Rosco on another brand and this produced better results than the original brand but Rosco was still having wind problems.

After alot of research on dogs diets after bloat we noticed that raw was the option used the most especially with Irish Setter owners. Most Irish Setter owners agreed with not feeding kibble to these sorts of dogs. We decided to take all the dogs off the dried food and moved them all to the raw. We started to see an improvement in Rosco after a week, the amount of times we had to wind him started to reduce. His diet at first was based on chicken but we had to cut it into smaller pieces in order for him not to swallow it whole which he had a habit of doing. Even with the thighs he would crunch a few times and it was gone and the bulkier pieces tended to make him bloat out more and take in more air. We found a stockist called Food For Pets which supplied raw in the form of the freeflow mince and blocks frozen. Once defrosted the meat was of a moist soft texture and this worked for Rosco really well. Rosco really enjoyed the fish blocks the most and it would take the longest for him to eat . He was bloating less and less now and he was starting to gain some weight and alot more sturdy. It was a slow process but it was great to see him starting to thrive and get back to normal. The stomach gurgling noises had virtually dissapeared.

Once Rosco started to gain weight and the bloating disappeared we started to take him on short walks of about 10 minutes. He was starting to get really bored and frustrated always been left behind while the other dogs got out. The walks broke the day up for him and he was more content. Rosco was thriving and the vet said he was in excellent condition. The vet said he couldn’t see a problem of Rosco getting back into his mushing training. Rosco got his first short mush of half a mile on the 17th April on Downings beach. He was so happy been able to run again as walking wasn’t keeping him happy any more, his desire to run was very strong. Rosco did so well and showed no signs of wind problems. On the 23rd April we took him out again as part of the 4 dog team for another run and he loved it. Rosco was looking in flying form and it was good to see him so happy again. His performance was outstanding we were actually getting confident that our boy was getting back to normal.

Then the wind problems starting to begin again last week around the 28th April. We had to wind him at least 3-4 times a day. He was even getting wind 3 hours after eating, a few minutes playing would also set it off again. Was this due to the mushing or was it due to the diet? A few weeks ago I started to add a frozen balanced nugget to Rosco’s diet which had 16% grain and peas in it. I never noticed that the nuggets contained grain could this off caused the wind problem to start again :confused: Other Irish Setter owners have said yes as grain can cause excess wind and so can peas.

We took Rosco to the vet and the vet advised that we quit the pulling work with Rosco. We said if the mushing was the problem we would retire him, Roscos health comes first of course. The vet found some bones in his rectum and these were removed, they believed this was the cause. They also sent home a list of what we should and shouldn’t do. We were already following the regime the vet pointed out about no exercise 2hrs before and after feeding, no gulping of water after exercise and smaller feeds. They suggested putting him on tinned food as it has a soft texture, I said his food is off a soft texture and he was doing really well on it. They thought we were giving him full chickens and had no understanding of the raw diet.

Rosco still has the wind problem and it’s very stressful seeing him like that. I asked for advice on an Irish Setter forum and this is a common problem in Irish Setter especially with dogs that have suffered with bloat. Dogs have died at a young age because their stomach has been ruined due to all the bloating. I was very disheartened when I read that but it only made me research Roscos problem more and more. Other Setter owners have recommended carbo veg, windeze tablets, gripe water to be added to his food to help reduce the wind. Since I’m no vet I rang my Dog Homeopath and she said the same. Anne said yes there is a remedy I can give Rosco to help so she is preparing one. I should have it next week with instructions on how to administer it. She also recommended Aloe Vera liquid as this is meant to help with digestive and wind problems. This should only be administered in small amount into his food 3 times a day. The Homeopath also belives that the raw diet is best for the dog when he suffers with this problem. I’m going to do more reserach over the weekend about this but maybe putting him back on a dried special diet might help. I’m so confused at the minute and want to do what’s best by Rosco.

Rosco is going to the vets this evening (6th May 2011) for a few days while the vet monitors the wind episodes. I will update the blog on what the vet says and if the Homeopath remedy and advice works aswell.


These last few weeks we aren’t having much success controlling Rosco’s bloating and it has become very fustrating and tiredsome.
Quite frankly I’m not sure why bloating occurs now if we were taking what I thought were all the right precautions with Rosco; avoiding grains, feeding 3 small meals a day, feeding him on his own, not allowing him to drink a lot of water right before or after his meal and never allowing him to have any activity before or after eating. We really can’t understand at this stage why the bloating won’t stop when we put all these measures in place along with homeopath remedies such as aloe vera/fennel oil to his food and getting the vax vomica/carbo veg spray 3 times a day.

We needed to get a 2nd opinion and contacted another vet for a referral


Tests done on the 23rd May 2011 by referral


Rosco was screened for all the metabolic or painful abdominal conditions (eg. pancreatitis) and nothing was found. He did have biopsies and they revealed a normal stomach lining despite the gross appearance of abnormality, but they identified plentiful Helicobacter organisms in the lumen. The significance of these spiral bacteria is shrouded in controversy in dogs, but given Rosco’s serious problems the vet thought we should attempt an eradication programme. Rosco was prescribed a medication to help eradicate the bacteria and a liquid to help with his gas problem. To date Rosco is still on both the tablets and the medicine and it hasn’t helped much.


Craig believed that the clue to the bloating lies in the difficulty we have in finding a diet which his bowel would tolerate. The RAW diet Rosco was currently on had a number of different proteins, and if he was allergic to one of these then there will remain a trigger for ongoing problems. This remains true even though his faeces seem normal on the RAW diet. So Rosco was to be put on a cooked fish and mashed potato diet for 6 weeks. This hypoallergenic diet should be ideal if his suspicion is correct that food intolerance is the primary disease.


Well 4 weeks later and Rosco is still suffering with bloat with the cooked fish and mashed potatoe diet. He is getting 3 small feeds a day with his medicine. He did have 3 days bloat free at the start of June but nothing since and we aren’t doing anything different. The bloating is very unpredictable now and doesn’t happening after feeding all the time. We are also feeding him first and on his own to reduce and excitement and this doesn’t help either. I was at my wits end and contact Craig again for advice. I suggested to him that we tried rice and fish and this has made no difference either. Craig did believe that potato has no bad role in the bloating problem and he was right.

Craig wants to get to the route of Roscos problem and spoke to a specialist vet in Glasgow.  At the time of the tests Craig was unable to complete the duodenal biopsies as the gastropexy our vet performed prevented the scope entering the bowel. Now Craig wants to take the SI biopsies with an operation to rule out any other problems. Rosco is booked into the vets on Wednesday 29th June for his operation. We are really hoping these biopsies give us some answer as the bloating problem is very hard to control and Rosco is indeed suffering.

If all else fails for Rosco the vet suggested having him fitted with a low profile PEG tube in his stomach wall which will easily allow relief of the bloating – this is a last resort. Which is a very expensive option but may be necessary.


Views: 601

Comment by Carmel Murphy on June 28, 2011 at 4:27pm
Lets hope this gives more insight into Rosco's problem!! Let me know how he gets on tomorrow;o) Hugs to you all from his red family here;o))
Comment by lyn hathaway on June 28, 2011 at 5:15pm
poor poor rosco he has gonre through the woods this last 6 months and i truly hope that something can be done to stop him bloating
Comment by Sherry Miller on June 28, 2011 at 10:33pm
Rita I am hoping you find the answers tomorrow for Rosco and also for his wonderful owners.  Please let us know how you all get on tomorrow.
Comment by Howard Glansfield on June 29, 2011 at 1:49am
I hope Rosco keeps well .Thinking of you.
Comment by Susan Stone on June 29, 2011 at 2:57am
Sorry to hear of all your worries, I hope things improve very soon! Maybe you could get a referral to or at least an opinion from Prof Ed Hall at Bristol University, he is a specialist with a personal interst in Irish Setters. Just a thought. Good luck!
Comment by Dee Rance on June 29, 2011 at 6:41am

So sorry to hear of all the 'bloating' problems that you have been having...Bloat can occur at any time, food or no food, exercise or not. Water is usually a contributing thing for bloat, all of mine that bloated drank like it was going out of fashion just seconds before they 'blew' this gassing up is a problem that I had with another one of mine. She had to be 'patted down' on a regular bacis...Prof Ed Hall is really good as Susan says...personally I think that bloat seems to come in two forms genetic and stress...Mine would blow at all hours during the day and night...very frightening

Have you tried 'Call of The Wild???' dog food. it is totally organic. non gluten etc etc etc....

As for the Bacteria in the gut, there are some geneticists that think that it may be a case of 'cause and effect' (did the bloat cause it or was the bloat caused by it..???) don't think we will ever know that one...

I hope all goes well with you all....good luck with your wee boy...fingers crossed for him and you all

Comment by Myra Thomas-Rhodes on June 29, 2011 at 6:50am

Goodness, what a story! Wishing you every good wish with Rosco. You certainly have covered every base - I guess it is in the lap of the gods.


Comment by Rita Wilson on June 29, 2011 at 6:59am
Thanks for all the well wishes everyone for Rosco. The bloat was getting so unpredicatable and we took all the measures with the food, water and exercise. He could be sleeping and wake up bloated so it was all very strange. I do agree that stress is also a trigger and excitement. It's the length of time that he stays bloated is worring... nearly 2 hours last night to get him back to normal.  Very stressful for him and us. I'll mention Prof Ed Hall to Craig if he gets no answers.
Comment by Peter Hennig on June 29, 2011 at 7:11am
OMG what an ordeal all the best for the future poor boy so very stressful
Comment by Chantal McIlveen-Wright on June 29, 2011 at 9:08am
Poor lovely Rosco, what a terrible year you are having, and so are you Rita + family! Nothing is worse than having a condition and not finding the cause. I really hope the solution will be found very soon, all my warmest wishes and a big cuddle from me Rosco.


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