Certain breeds are predisposed to the rapidly dangerous condition called GDV (gastric dilation volvulus), gastric torsion, volvulus or bloat. The exact cause is still not certain, but ultimately gas accumulates in stomach faster that it can be removed by the body. The bouyant gas filled stomach, under certain conditions (notably deep chested breeds) will rotate and flip. At this point, local and systemic damage is rapid and only surgery can fix the problem. Circulation is rapidly affected, tissues are dying and toxins are being released. And the dog is in great pain and distress.
Far better to avoid it.
Being a German Shepherd, Great Dane, St Bernard, Wolfhound, Setter, Standard Poodle, and similar breeds
Deep chested anatomy
Being related to a dog with a history of GDV
Exercise shortly after a large meal of highly processed food (especially small kibble) **Moderate activity after a meal is potentially a protective factor
Exclusive high processed, dry food meals
Single large meal per day
Eating dry foods with oils/fats listed in the top four ingredients
Stresses like kenneling
Ingesting too much air (by rapid eating, raised bowls, or fearful disposition)
Specific brands of foods, specific ingredients, gender of dog, being underweight or having preexisting gastrointestinal disease have been speculated as being contributing risk factors, for which evidence is inconclusive at best.
What does it look like?
It is generally rapid in onset, associated with clear signs of distress:
- Loud wretching sometimes with foamy material
- Rapid abdominal distention (or bloat)
With these symptoms, your dogs needs immediate help to stabilize and prepare for surgical correction.
What to do?
Call us for advice. We may be able to start the stabilizing process, provide a prognosis for you, and/or do the necessary surgery. A stabilized patient may be transferred to an ER facility for surgery and aftercare.
Consider preventative surgery, called prophylactic gastropexy, at the time of spay/neuter or other abdominal surgery. In some cases, this can be done with minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures.
Call us with questions or concerns if your dog is showing signs or bloat, or if you’re interested in preventative measures to prevent it.