The condition retired K9 Bruno, and recently K9 Guenther, developed is what we call GDV – Gastric Dilation Volvulus. They were both treated and recovered at Yorba Regional Animal Hospital. Here are more details on GDV and how to prevent it.
Bloat/Torsion (GDV – Gastric Dilation Volvulus) in dogs is a condition where their stomach fills with air and then rotates causing a restriction of blood flow to the stomach, liver and heart. This results in difficulty breathing, damage to the stomach and heart. This condition can result in death in as short as an hour. The cause of this condition is not known, but there are known factors that predispose certain dogs to develop this.
Breeds most commonly effected by GDV are deep chested dogs (Long from back to front and narrow side to side), which includes Great Danes, Weimaraners, St. Bernards, Gordon Setters, Irish Setters, Standard Poodles, Irish Wolfhound, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, German shorthaired pointer, German Shepherds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Basset Hounds, Bloodhound, Akita, and Boxers. In Great Danes bloat is reported to occur in almost 40% of these dogs.
Factors that increase the risk of bloating from the research performed to date on the typical dog that develops bloat are a deep and narrow chest; leanness; a relative that has had a bloat episode; eating quickly; a dry-food diet; a single, large daily meal; stress; and a fearful, nervous, or aggressive temperament. The risk also increases with age.
How to Tell if Your Dog is Bloated
The dog may have an obviously distended stomach especially near the ribs but this is not always evident depending on the dog’s body configuration. The biggest clue is the vomiting: the pet appears highly nauseated and is retching but little is coming up. When dogs bloat - Approximately 30 percent of dogs die or have to be euthanized.
Factors That Have Been Reported to Decrease the Risk of Bloat
Eating more than one meal a day. Diet with dry food containing calcium rich meat meal, some canned food or table scraps. Not feeding from an elevated dish. Grains are not a factor in the cause for bloat despite some opinions. Activity after eating has not been proven as cause.
Prevention – Surgery
To prevent this condition surgery is performed to attach the stomach wall to the abdominal wall to prevent the stomach from twisting or rolling over. The most recent method is done with an endoscope through a small incision through the skin between the sternum and belly button. The stomach is located and incised through a thin outer layer of muscle and that is then sewn to the abdominal wall incision. When this heals it creates a permanent bond between these muscle tissues that when healed will prevent the stomach from rotating. The surgery is done as an outpatient and takes about 45 minutes. Most dogs go home and eat that night. When done properly it is an extremely safe with less discomfort than a spay or neuter surgery.
We have been doing these surgeries for about 5 years and have not had any surgery related problems. We are committed to help prevent this in susceptible dogs by offering our services at a greatly reduced cost. You can find out more about our Laparoscopic gastropexy surgery service and special here.
If you have any questions please call our office at (714) 921-8700 and ask for Steve Dunbar, DVM.