Eastbourne dog owner warns residents of ‘deadly’ disease that could kill within hours

Laura Hutchins and Jonathan Kirby have said they had to pay £6,000 after their dog, Marcus Barcus, was treated for bloat.

The couple said five-year-old Marcus, who is a rescue dog, is insured, but only for accidents, as he is not the kind of breed you would expect to see bloat in.

A Blue Cross spokesperson said: “The life-threatening condition can kill a dog within hours without treatment.

Marcus Barcus

“This causes the stomach to distend and twist, cutting off the blood supply and filling it with air.

“It’s rare, however, especially among breeds without a genetic predisposition to bloat.”

Blue Cross said the causes of bloating are still not fully understood.

Warning signs include a swollen and hard belly; retching but not being able to vomit; drool; pain in the abdomen to the touch; and other signs of distress such as panting and restlessness, according to Blue Cross.

Owners are urged to take their dog straight to the vet if they suspect they have bloat.

Blue Cross said: “Bloat is a veterinary emergency and a few minutes can make a difference to your pet’s chances of survival.”

It’s thought that feeding little and often can make it less likely, and sticking to low-fat foods is also recommended, according to Blue Cross.

The charity added: ‘It is also advisable to avoid strenuous exercise after meals.

“Fast eating is another risk factor, so it’s a good idea to consider using a slow-feeding bowl if your dog eats fast.”

Miss Hutchins said she knew the basics of the disease because she worked in a kennel and cattery.

She added: “Basically it was such bad luck that it happened to him, but it was such luck that we live just around the corner – neither of us drive and it happened at 3am. morning – emergency vets and that they were even open. And [we were lucky] that I caught it in time, you have about one to two hours to have your dog operated on from the time the symptoms start.

The Eastbourne resident said the experience was ‘the scariest I have ever had in my entire human life’.

Miss Hutchins said she wanted to thank Vets Now at St Annes Road and Cobie VetCare.

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