Friday, December 15

Overview of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus in Dogs

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Dog owners know the joy that comes from having a furry friend by their side but also know the sorrow that comes when he has an injury or ailment.

There are several conditions and diseases that can affect one’s precious companion and a number of them, like Gastric Dilatation Volvulus can be life threatening.

Here is an overview of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, its symptoms, how it is diagnosed, and how it is treated.

What is Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)?

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, also known as GDV is a life threatening condition in which the stomach is overstretched by excessive gas and prevented from escaping.

How does Gastric Dilatation Volvulus affect the health?

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus affects the health when there is a build-up of gas in the stomach which causes it to twist and close off from the esophagus and the intestines. This leads to pain, shock and pressure on the heart, circulatory system, necrosis of the stomach tissue, and can end in death.

What types of dogs are affected by Gastric Dilatation Volvulus?

Large breeds between 2-10 years of age can develop Gastric Dilatation Volvulus. Deep-chested breeds such as the Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Irish Setter, Saint Bernard, Irish Wolfhound, Weimaraner, Gordon Setter, Standard Poodle, German Shepherd, Akita, and Sight Hounds are often affected. This condition can also be found in other breeds however those mentioned are at higher risk.

What are the symptoms of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus?

There are numerous symptoms of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus which are pale gums, irregular and rapid breathing, enlargement of the abdomen, nausea, an attempt to vomit and defecate with no results, excessive drooling, abdominal pain, restlessness, whimpering, pacing, stretching, glazing of the eyes, anxiety, isolation, inability to concentrate, grass eating, and often the dog will collapse.

What to do when a dog displays symptoms of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus?

If a dog exhibits the symptoms of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, he should be immediately taken to a veterinarian or an animal hospital emergency room; home treatment should not be attempted.

How is Gastric Dilatation Volvulus diagnosed?

Compared to other diseases Gastric Dilatation Volvulus is easy to identify and typically detected through an examination that consists of blood tests, an EEG, and x-rays.

How is Gastric Dilatation Volvulus treated?

Veterinarians usually make an attempt to decompress the stomach by inserting large bore needles or a trochar through the skin and muscle directly into the stomach. When this is accomplished the dog will undergo surgery to correct the twisting of the stomach and may require hospitalization for a minimum of 7 days. In addition the dog may be placed on a special diet and/or medication to promote successful gastric emptying.

How can Gastric Dilatation Volvulus be prevented?

In order to prevent Gastric Dilatation Volvulus dog owners should give smaller portions of food and dissuade rapid eating. Furthermore dogs should refrain from exercise for two hours after food consumption.

To learn more about Gastric Dilatation Volvulus log on to


University of Prince Edward Island

Animal Health Channel


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