Torsion, Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)
Simple gastric distention can occur in any breed or age of dog and
is common in young puppies that overeat. This is sometimes referred
to as pre-bloat by laymen. Belching of gas or vomiting food usually
relieves the problem.
bloating is uncomfortable for humans, bloating in dogs is life-threatening.
When a dog gets bloated, his stomach fills with gas, making his
middle swell up like a balloon. If the gassiness persists, his stomach
will twist, blocking off blood flow to his stomach.
This in turn makes it impossible for the stomach to be emptied,
and leads to more build up of gas, and so on in a nasty cycle. The
diagnosis is simple, but the pathological changes in the dog’s body
make treatment complicated, expensive, and not always successful.
Dogs with deep and narrow chests that are usually fed once daily
are prone to bloating. These dogs include: Doberman Pinschers, Irish
Wolfhounds, Borzoi, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Standard Poodles,
Rottweilers, Akitas, Bloodhounds, Great Pyrenees, Irish Setters,
Old English Sheepdogs, Boxers, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, St.
Bernard’s, Newfoundlands, Weimaraners, Gordon Setters, Borzoi, Mastiffs,
in the habit of bolting / gulping down their food, gulping air,
or drinking large amounts of water immediately after eating to this
once daily feeding schedule and body type, then add vigorous exercise
after a full meal, and you have the recipe for bloat.
your dog becomes bloated, his belly will be swollen and he may:
– Try to throw up
– Have grey or white gums
– Have difficulty breathing
– Have gurgling noises coming from his stomach
addition, if you tap on your dog’s tummy it may sound hollow just
like a drum.
GDV is a true emergency. If you know or even suspect your dog has
bloat do not attempt home treatment. If treated within a few hours
he should recover, but if the problem persists for 6-12 hours, your
pet will go into shock, coma, and then die.
take the time to call ahead; while you are transporting the dog,
the hospital staff can prepare for your arrival. Do not insist on
accompanying your dog to the treatment area. Well-meaning owners
are an impediment to efficient care.
diagnosis may include: x-rays, an ECG, and blood tests. But because
bloat is so life-threatening, treatment will probably be started
before the test results are in.
first step is to treat shock with IV fluids and steroids. Antibiotics
and antiarrythmics may also be started now. Then the veterinarian
will attempt to decompress the stomach by passing a stomach tube.
If this is successful, a gastric levage may be
instituted to wash out accumulated food, gastric juices, or other
stomach contents. In some cases, decompression is accomplished by
placing large-bore needles or a trochar through the skin and muscle
and directly into the stomach.
some cases, this medical therapy is sufficient. However, in many
cases, surgery is required to save the dog. Once the dog’s condition
is stabilized, surgery to correct the stomach twist, remove any
unhealthy tissue, and anchor the stomach in place is
performed. The gastroplexy, or anchoring surgery, is an important
procedure to prevent recurrence, and many variations exist.
Your veterinarian will do the procedure he feels comfortable with
and which has the best success rate
is prolonged; sometimes requiring hospital stays of a week or more.
Post-operative care depends on the severity of the disease and the
treatment methods employed and may include a special diet, drugs
to promote gastric emptying, and routine
wound management. Costs may run $500-1000 or more in complicated
your dog has a tendency toward bloating, give him small amounts
of food throughout the day, rather than allowing him to gulp down
large meals. It may also help to keep other pets away from him as
he eats; some dogs feel they have to eat fast with humans
or other animals are around, because they fear someone else will
try to eat their food. So let him eat in a room by himself.
exercise can also help prevent bloat (and other digestive problems),
but exercise right after eating may actually cause bloat. In addition,
drinking large amounts of water right after eating may lead to bloating.
a preventative measure, some vets also suggest feeding your dog
yogurt, which contains bacteria that may help him better digest
his food. Dogs that are 15 pounds or over may have a teaspoon of
live-culture plain yogurt (with no artificial sweeteners)
once a day. Smaller dogs may have � to � a teaspoon each day.
the genetics of GDV are not completely known, most breeders and
veterinarians feel there is some degree of heritability. Therefore,
while prophylactic gastroplexy will probably help an individual
dog, it makes sense not to breed dogs who are affected
or who are close relatives of those suffering from GDV.