Portia Beats GDV Syndrome

Canine Gastric Dilation (GDV) and Volvulus syndrome (Bloat in dogs)

PortiaPortia, our December calendar girl is a GDV survivor and would like all dog owners, especially those with dogs more prone to GDV (bloat), to be aware of the condition and act quickly if suspected.

How Portia beat stomach dilation syndrome

In November 2016 Portia; then a 9 year old Doberman was rushed to the emergency Vets with what we call GDV (bloat or GDV – Gastric Dilation and Volvulus).

When Portia became suddenly unwell Jared and Natalie her owners acted with exceptional speed and ultimately helped save her life by rushing her in for urgent and lifesaving surgery. The symptoms of salivating, attempting but failing to vomit and a distended abdomen are the classic symptoms of this incredibly dangerous condition.

Portia required major surgery to rotate her twisted stomach to a normal position and required her spleen to be removed. Portia made an amazing recovery.

Jared and Natalie made all the best decisions and not having experienced such an event before would like all dog owners, especially those who have deep chested large breed dogs to be aware.

Gastric dilation – is the enlargement (distension) of the stomach (fluid, food and air accumulates in the stomach), the resulting condition requires urgent emergency veterinary care.

As the stomach enlarges it blows up like a balloon inside the abdomen and actually affects the return circulation of blood to the heart and reduces the blood supply to the lining of the stomach.

Typical signs you might see with your dog are retching and trying to vomit but no result, a distended stomach (abdomen), salivating and slobbering from the mouth, pain and anxiety, no interest in food.

What to do – seek urgent veterinary help – if after hours, your local emergency vet hospital, otherwise contact us at AC Vets. As this condition affects circulation it is a massive cardiac shock, circulation can fail and the blood supply can mean parts of the stomach will be starved of blood supply, this can result in loss of part of the stomach (requires to be surgically removed) or death due to complications.

What needs to be done – decompressing the enlarged stomach is no 1 priority to reduce the circulation crisis; via stomach tube or direct with trocars into the stomach. Patients will need intravenous fluids to offset the circulation shock and may need surgery to rotate the stomach if it has twisted as well as distended.

Which dogs are affected? Any large deep chested dog breeds; more commonly seen in German Shepherds, Great Danes, Rottweilers, Labradors, Dobermans, Red Setters, Ridge backs and less commonly but has been reported in small deep chested breeds like Dachshunds, Pekingese.

What causes this condition? There are a number of theories without absolute certainty but likely to be a number of factors contributing like  – ingesting large quantities of food or water, followed by intense activity, excitement or anxiety and the size of food biscuits has also been examined.

The gas accumulated in the stomach has been analysed to be air, not methane or typical gases we see with flatulence. This suggests the air is due to “air sucking” – excitement and anxiety may play a big role in the condition – and often the occurrences at home party time – cheerios followed by running around with children have been events associated with the development of GDV.

Prevention.  Be aware if you own a deep chested large breed dog, avoid intense activity after large meals, avoid excessive excitement under hot conditions resulting in drinking large quantities of water, calm your dog and stop play if over-excited and be vigilant if you have an anxious dog.

Gastroplexy is a surgical process that can considered in the early months of life to “secure” the stomach via a stitch to the inside of the abdominal wall. Many different procedures have been tried.

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