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This is something that has been "bothering" me over the last few days. We have had a few topics on bloat now, and they have been informative, interesting and helpful.

Everyone agrees that bloat is a very serious condition that should be properly adressed and prevented in any way we may find. We also read about quite a few cases of bloat in setters here in ES.

So the main picture I get is that Bloat is a real issue in our beloved setters.

However, I never saw or even heard about a setter bloating near me. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, I'm sure setters have bloated in Alentejo before, but vets here don't even seem to consider them a risk breed. Also they are seen as medium dogs, not large dogs, and to be honest, my girls are a lot bigger than most males our local hunters have. Oh and most setters I know in this area are hunting dogs, most of them English setters!

So all our discussions got me wondering why I never heard of a setter bloating before near me... Am I just missinformed?Is it our gene pool that is not prone to bloating? Is it the fact that our dogs tend to be smaller? Are our owners careless, let their dogs die of bloating and we never hear of it happening? Or maybe there are just too few setters in Portugal for bloat cases to be heard of?

Any thoughts?

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If most of the setters in your area are hunting dogs, that probably explains why you dont hear much about bloat. While working setters are not without the problem, its a lot more rare in a working setter. You only have to look at the way they are built, smaller, different proportions, good chest and lung capacity but the proportion of depth to width of chest is different. Thats why its also rare in IRWS.


Yes Bloat is a real issue within IS. Other breeds suffer the problem including as Sue mentions English Setters. The problem is multifactorial but due in the main to shape, digestion and temperament that being the manner and ability of the dogs to handle stress. I didn't think size was a paticular influence. I get the impression that generally IS were smaller on the continent especially here in France. I've only ever seen the one male dog locally that was a height/size I would expect to see in the UK. Of the local vets (two local and one in Lille) I've been to see for whatever reason here in France I would estimate that only around the 50% have any knowledge of bloat. More vets are seemingly aware of the problem in the UK.

As Sue also suggests working dogs are normally kennelled so probably quite a few unexplained deaths could probably be put down to bloat as without a full (and expensive) post mortem cause of death would only be a guess. So I still don't think size is a major factor.

Shape, temperament and digestion all connect to breeding decisions and although there may well no one influencing gene within the issue of bloat without doubt some dogs will be more at risk than others.

Interesting points you all made!

I don't think our local vets are unaware of bloat - only this year we already did 3 bloat surgerys (all successful, thank God) and we are a Hospital in the country side, so we have less clients than a big city hospital.

That's why I went back to look for setters that did bloat surgery in the hospital, and was amazed to find that there were 5  setter surgery's over the last 8 years, two of them to Pitanga. None was bloat and that made me wonder why... 'Cause saddly, I really don't think it's our local hunters good care and atention that is keeping setters from bloating! And I've heard stories of hunters that got home to find their pointer or labradors dead with big bellys, but not of setters. 

I'm really more inclined to shape and the way they are built as working dogs, but just wanted to see if anyone had any knowledge about it, or if there was another place were this also happens!

Hi Teresa

This is a subject i have just had to deal with, my beautiful girl Mia died last Thursday 31st May 2012. She actually got  through the operation but died 3 days later from complications. I have only had one Irish and she was only 6 years old when she died. i am increasingly hearing of this bloat illness and it is such a cruel way for them to die. I was under the impression it was hereditary, but Mia did not have it in her bloodline. It is not only Mia that has had it in her litter, her brother got it last year but he has survived unlike my girl.

Hi Tina,

I am very sorry to hear that you have lost a good friend to this horrible condition. I just hope that all this experience sharing will alert others to the risks of bloat.

I wish there was something I could tell you for comfort, but losing a for legged member of our family is always an incredible loss, so I just hope you have a lot of support from friends and family to help you get trough it.

Hi Tina,

All the sympathy in the world to you. Yes very cruel for the dog and so horrible for you the owner! Certainly put me off having another UK IS. Such a shame because they are the best dog in the world to have!

Most likely does have some form of genetic/hereditary influence be it a combination of factors. You are correct it is more common than some will admit to. Other breeds also suffer a similar problem.

She. Did not have it in her genes at all. On either side. But both her and her brother had it. Xx




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