(GDV or “Bloat”) Gastric Dilation with Volvulus

Gastric Dilation with VolvulusIf you have ever watched the film “Marley and Me,” then you know the dangers of Bloat (GDV).

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV), commonly called bloat, is an emergency medical condition that is seen most commonly in large and giant breed dogs. This is a life-threatening situation that occurs when the stomach fills with gas and/or food, expands, and then rotates, trapping gas inside the stomach. As pressure in the stomach builds up and cannot be released, the stomach can twist within the abdomen. Once this occurs, the blood supply to the stomach and spleen is compromised and the tissue becomes necrotic (dies) leading to bacteria being released into the abdomen. Expansion of the stomach also has a serious effect on the heart and lungs, causing difficulty breathing and abnormal heart rhythm. Most dogs will go into shock soon after the signs of GDV are seen. Death can occur within a matter of hours (or less).

To prevent bloat some environmental changes that have been recommended include: feeding on a raised platform, feeding more frequently with smaller portion sizes, and withholding exercise for several hours after eating. These methods have not been proven so bloat could still occur.

The good news is veterinarians can prevent this terrible disease with a procedure called a gastropexy. A gastropexy is where the stomach is attached to the body wall to prevent the rotation of the stomach when the stomach fills with gas. The procedure can be performed by either traditional surgery or minimally invasive techniques that are being utilized in human surgery.

GDV is a terrible life-threatening disease that gives minimal warning. If you know animals that are at risk for this condition please take precautions. Doing so will have life saving consequences.

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