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Gastric Dilation and Volvulus

Gastric Dilation and Volvulus
(Commonly known as bloat)

What is GDV?
Gastic dilation and Volvuous (GDV) is a true medical emergency. This is a condition where the stomach becomes distended and twisted upon itself. Twisting of the stomach causes an occlusion of the gut and associated blood supply. Consequently, affected tissue may die; this will cause serious, life threatening disease.

This condition requires immediate veterinary attention.

It is true that deep chested dog are generally predisposed to GDV (e.g. Great Dane, German Shepard, Irish Setter, Basset Hound, Doberman) but this does not mean that other dog breeds or dog sizes cannot be effected. It is also true that older dogs are at a higher risk of developing GDV; however, this has not been shown to affect their chances of survival.

GDV vs. Gastric dilation?
Occasionally, dogs of all sizes will experience gastric dilatation without volvulus – this is usually caused by gluttony. Although this condition is generally less harmful to your pet it does still require immediate veterinary attention.

So what will I notice at home?

Patients that experience either GDV or Gastic dilation will usually appear off colour, restless, painful, distended in the abdomen, they may have retching, with or without producing vomitus, panting, drooling and pale or bright red gums.

These symptoms usually progress, and develop suddenly. So if you believe your dog is showing any of the above signs they need to be seen by a vet as soon as possible.

What can I do from home?
It is likely that feeding two to three smaller meals two-three times daily, as compared to one large meal, may reduce the risk of developing GDV in your pet.

Providing a comforting environment to your pet is beneficial for many reasons. Stressful environments are likely to increase the incidence of GDV.

Dry dog feed diets high in fat may also be associated with an increased incidence of GDV, thus restricting these may be beneficial.

Restricting exercise after meals may aid in the prevention of GDV.

Feeding from an elevated position will increase the amount of air that your dog ingests with its meal. Increased amounts of air in the stomach is also likely to increase the risk of GDV developing.

Common misconceptions:
• My dog cannot get GDV, because it isn’t the right age, breed, sex, or size.
• My dog appears a little bloated in the abdomen but doesn’t appear too restless, I’ll wait and see how it does at home for the next hour.
• Someone other than a vet told me that my dog will be fine.
• My dog is quite old and wouldn’t survive surgery if required.

If you think your animal is showing any of the symptoms listed please seek veterinary advice immediately, regardless of the time of day. Remember, the best thing that can happen is a false alarm.

If you have any concerns please call one of our 24 hour Animal Hospitals at Essendon or Point Cook.


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