Gastric dilatation-volvulus, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening condition in which the stomach distends and rotates. This traps gas and fluid in the stomach and also causes tissue deterioration and necrosis. GDV causes extreme pain and if untreated with emergency surgery within 4-6 hours can lead to death in as many as 60% of cases.
While bloat can occur in any dog, dogs with deep chests (a higher depth-to-width ratio) are more prone. The following breeds are especially likely to develop bloat at some point in their lifetime:
Aside from your pet's breed and body type, we see an increased risk in dogs with high stress and anxiety, ingestion of large amounts of food and water or eating from an elevated bowl, and dogs who have a family history with bloat in it.
If you notice any of these symptoms, get your dog to a veterinarian immediately:
Treating and preventing is accomplished with the same surgery, called gastropexy. It involves permanently adhering a portion of the stomach muscle to the chest wall, preventing the stomach from rotating. In cases where GDV has already occurred, tissue and/or organ damage can complicate the basic surgery and recovery can be long and difficult.
Luckily, using gastropexy as a preventative measure is becoming easier for doctors and patients alike as new methods are developed. Thanks to Finnish veterinarians working to prevent GDV in their working dog breeds we're now using incisional gastropexy to speed up the surgery and recovery time.
Incisional gastropexy is quick to perform, safe, and has few complications. We recommend the procedure to any at risk puppies and dogs to prevent unecessary suffering and save both our patients and clients from painful, costly emergency surgery down the line.
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