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What is GDV/bloat?

Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV, bloat, twisted stomach) is a condition in which the stomach spontaneously rotates 180-360 degrees on its long axis, pinching off the entry and exit of the stomach.  This results in the dilation of the stomach and if left untreated a variety of severe complications result, including circulatory shock and death.  This condition requires immediate emergency surgery for correction.  A preventative/prophylactic gastropexy done at the time of spay or neutering significantly minimizes the risk of GDV.

What is gastropexy?

Gastropexy (also known as prophylactic gastropexy or stomach tacking) is a surgical procedure in which the wall of the stomach is fused to the inside of the body wall in its normal anatomic position.  Having the stomach fixed into its normal position will significantly reduce the risk of bloat/GDV.  This elective procedure is normally performed during the spay or neuter surgery.

Does my dog need a gastropexy?

Your veterinarian may recommend that your dog have a gastropexy at the time of its spay or neuter.  This decision is typically based on breed and body confirmation.  Having a first-degree relative who has experienced GDV may also increase an animal’s risk.  The body conformation that is associated with GDV is a deep, V-shaped chest in a large breed dog.  Breeds most commonly associated with GDV include Great Dane, Standard Poodle, German Shepherd, Saint Bernard, Boxer, Irish Setter, Gordon Setter, Weimaraner, Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler, Bernese Mountain Dog, Collie, Irish Wolfhound, Newfoundland, Akita, and Mastiff.  Other breeds that may be considered for a gastropexy based on their individual size and body conformation include Labrador Retrievers and various poodle mixes (“doodles”), among others.

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