Have you heard of bloat, twisted stomach, or GDV (Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus) in dogs? In its early stage, the stomach fills with gas, also known as “bloat”. A GDV is a progression of the bloat into a volvulus, in which the huge, gas-filled stomach twists upon itself so that both the entrance and exit of the stomach become blocked. This prevents blood flow to vital organs, which can lead to tissue damage and shock. This is a life-threatening emergency that requires surgery to correct.
Shadow, a 10 year old Lab/Shepherd mix, came in for sudden lethargy, drooling, and retching. We performed a physical exam and took x-rays, which revealed a VERY distended stomach filled with gas (see below), and immediately went into emergency surgery.
We were able to decompress his stomach and return the stomach to its normal position. We then performed a gastropexy, a procedure that sutures the stomach wall to the abdominal wall, to prevent the stomach twisting in the future.
We are so happy to say that Shadow did so well following his surgery and is completely back to his normal self!
If you have a large, deep-chested breed dog, some precautions you can take to help prevent bloat include:
• Avoiding strenuous exercise before and after meals
• Feeding frequent small meals instead of one large meal
• Using bowls designed to make dogs eat more slowly
• Restrict water during meal times