May 01 2013

What is Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV/Bloat)?

Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) is a life threatening, acute condition that requires immediate medical attention. Certain breeds are more prone to this condition: Boxers, Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Standard Poodles, Saint Bernards, Irish Setters, Dobermans, Weimaraners and Gordon Setters. These breeds are considered deep-chested (large chest and narrow waist) but any similarly shaped dog can be at risk.

Diagnosis of GDV is made based on physical examination, history and abdominal x-rays. Often GDV happens when a pet eats a large meal and then becomes very active. Initially the dog may become restless, try to vomit or retch continuously but is unable to produce any vomit. This is because the stomach has twisted, preventing anything entering and exiting the digestive system. The pressure inside the stomach starts to increase and the dog may salivate and pant excessively. As the patient’s condition progresses they become lethargic, have a swollen stomach and eventually collapse. If not treated, the internal organs can be damaged and without timely treatment this condition is fatal.

The goals of treatment are to reduce the pressure in the stomach and return the stomach to its normal position. During the surgery, the stomach and internal organs are examined for damage and then the stomach is attached to the body wall to prevent a reoccurrence.

Prophylactic suturing of the stomach is advised in breeds predisposed to GDV during abdominal surgeries for other causes. Dr Rogers often performs the gastropecxy procedure during routine spaying and neutering. Other preventative measures include restriction of exercise before and after feeding. Feed twice a day instead of once a day, and not to elevate food/water bowls. If you have any questions about GDV the Complete Care Animal Hospital staff would be happy to answer any questions you may have. If you think your pet may be suffering from a GDV please call the hospital line at 740-397-7146, if it is after business hours you will be forwarded to the emergency line to speak with Dr Rogers.

This is an x-ray of what a GDV looks like. The large black structure is the stomach filled with air and twisted on itself.

This is an x-ray of what a GDV looks like. The large black structure is the stomach filled with air and twisted on itself.

Guiness 2 weeks after his emergency surgery!

Guiness 2 weeks after his emergency surgery!


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