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GDV Burnese Mountain Dog – Animal Emergency Melbourne

Emergency GDV

Emergency  GDV

Georgy is a gorgeous Burnese Mountain Dog who presented to Animal Accident and Emergency Point Cook last week for severe abdominal pain, abdominal distension (bloated belly) and dry retching (attempting to vomit without producing any vomit).

This presentation and breed are typical of a disease commonly known as BLOAT. The technical name for bloat is “gastric dilation and volvulus” or “GDV” for short. 

In cases of GDV the stomach has become distended and has filled with gas and then twisted over on itself. This is a life threatening condition as all the blood vessels that supply the stomach get kinked off like a bent hose pipe and this stops the blood flow to the stomach wall. The stomach wall begins to die as a result of the lack of blood supply. The stomach then inflates further as gas cannot escape out of a twisted stomach. The inflating stomach blocks off blood that is returning to the heart via the large vessels in the abdomen. This causes shock. Another complication of the overly inflated stomach is that it puts pressure on the diaphragm (the muscle that makes you breath) thus making it very difficult for these poor doggies to breath!

Please see this link for an animation of what happens in GDV:

In summary, the main things that happen in a bloat case are: 

  • distended stomach twists and loses blood supply causing the stomach wall to start dying 
  • the distended stomach inflates even more and blocks off other blood vessels returning blood to the heart
  • the now very distended stomach puts pressure on the diaphragm and prevents the dog from being able to breath properly. 

So now that we all know about GDV and what happens, what can we do to correct it and save your beloved dog? 

The first thing to do is confirm the vets suspicion of GDV with a x-ray of the patient’s belly. This is exactly what we did for Georgy. If the vet suspects that your dog has GDV, you may be asked if we can take an x-ray immediately to check if that is indeed what is happening. 



Unfortunately, once the twisted stomach has been confirmed, the only way to fix what is happening is surgery. Before we get into what is done surgically to correct this condition we need to stabilise the dog first. Stabilisation involves deflating the stomach by either passing a tube down their throat or using a needle to let some gas out. Given that these patients are in shock fluids will need to be started immediately in order to help their heart and circulation. This condition is also painful and pain relief will be provided in this phase. 

The next step is surgery. Surgery involves anaesthetising the patient and an incision (cut) into the abdomen (belly). The stomach is untwisted and inspected carefully. Sometimes the stomach will be dead in places and these places will have to be removed because dead tissue cannot be left behind. The spleen (a blood storage organ) is closely attached to the stomach and sometimes this may have twisted with the stomach and may need to be removed as well- this may sounds like a big deal but dogs do just fine without their spleens. Once the stomach and spleen are dealt with, the stomach is then stitched to the abdominal wall to prevent it twisting over on itself again – this is called a GASTROPEXY and is a VERY IMPORTANT part of the surgery as this condition will recur if this is not done! 

The rest of the abdomen is inspected and then closed. 


Recovery time for this surgery depends on a lot of different things. Minimum time in hospital after surgery is 24 hours but some patients may require a few days. The longer the stomach is twisted for before surgery is performed, the more complications are encountered and the longer the recovery period. 


  1. BREED IS THE NUMBER ONE CONSISTENT FACTOR IN BLOAT. Certain breeds are far more at risk than others. These breeds are the bigger breeds of dog and tend to have “deep proud chests”. Breeds most at risk: Great Dane, German Shepherds, Standard Poodles, Dobermans, Boxers, Dalmatians, Weimaraner, Burnese Mountain Dogs, Saint Bernards, Newfounlands, Labradors, Retrievers, Chow Chows and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. However OTHER DOGS CAN HAVE GDV. 
  2. Bloated belly 
  3. Trying to vomit (dry retching). Some dogs with bloat may be able to produce some vomit so do not exclude bloat on the basis that your dog can vomit. A vomiting pet is always a concern and you should always seek veterinary advice if your pet is vomiting or trying to vomit. 
  4. Sore belly- standing hunched, whining or yelping.


Contact a vet immediately. As mentioned before, time is of the essence in both saving your dog and in minimising complications. AAE Essendon and Point Cook are open 24 hours a day 365 days of the year. 


  1. If your dog is an at-risk breed for GDV (see breeds above) there is the option to consult your general practice vet about prophylactic gastropexy (a surgery where they stitch the stomach to the abdominal wall before the GDV has occurred). This is the ONLY way to prevent your dogs stomach from twisting. This surgery is especially easy to do in females when they are spayed as puppies as the vet is already entering the abdomen and saves a separate anaesthesia and surgery. 
  2. If you have an at-risk breed of GDV (see breeds above), it is recommended to feed your dog smaller meals more frequently as opposed to one large meal. 
  3. It has long been thought that exercising your dog immediately after feeding may increase the risk of bloat. It is recommended that you avoid exercising your dog soon after you have fed them. 


  • Feeding your dog antacids or de-gas medication does not decrease the risk of the development of GDV
  • If your dog has a twisted stomach, surgery is the ONLY option in order to save your dog’s life, without the appropriate surgery THE VAST MAJORITY OF THESE DOGS WILL TWIST THEIR STOMACHS AGAIN!
Dr Tim Conolly & Georgy

Dr Tim Conolly & Georgy

We are happy to say that the lovely Georgy made a full recovery from her GDV and subsequent surgery with very few complications. 

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No more dog bones for Pepper

Pepper, 5 year old West Highland Terrier

Pepper, 5 year old West Highland Terrier

Pepper is a sweet 5 year old West Highland Terrier dog who had been seen at AAE on previous occasions for oesophageal foreign body (caused by bone ingestion).

Last Thursday night, Pepper’s owner noticed she wasn’t herself when Pepper jumped on their bed in the middle of night. Pepper was shaking so her owners brought her in to our Essendon Fields Pet Emergency Centre.

Pepper had managed to steal 3 large marrow bones from her house mate. She developed severe abdominal pain after eating the bone.

Pepper’s pain was severe enough that her pain relief medication had to be escalated requiring a combination of 3 different pain relief medications to keep her severe pain under control.

It took 4 days for Peppers abdominal pain to resolve.

Pepper has now gone home with her caring owners and is on a strict low fat diet.

Pepper was a very sweet patient and the staff at Animal Accident & Emergency wish her a speedy recovery.

Pepper taking her morning walk at Essendon Fields.

Pepper taking her morning walk at Essendon Fields.


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20 Reasons why we should all have a Dog

20 Reasons You Absolutely Need A Dog In Your Life

 This post is taken from a friends post on Facebook.  Thankyou to whoever put this together.  You deserve a huge credit

1. They empathize With Human Pain

Dogs-Angels-of-the-Human-Spirit Source: livescience.com

Goldsmiths College released a study that showed more dogs will approach someone who’s crying or in distress than someone who is not. This shows that dogs are empathetic and are eager to help comfort humans in pain.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

2. They can detect cancer

resting-cdog Source: philly.com

Due to their incredible sense of smell, dogs have shown anywhere from 70 to 99% accuracy (depending on the study) when tasked with detecting lung cancer in a nearby patient.

Source: en.wikipedia.org

3. They reduce work stress

reasons-you-absolutely-need-a-dog-in-your-life-16 Source: dogspired.com

The International Journal of Workplace Health Management has discovered that workers who bring their dog to their office have less stress and are happier with their job, simply because the dog is hanging around.

Source: edition.cnn.com

4. Detect Seizures Before They Happen

reasons-you-absolutely-need-a-dog-in-your-life-1 Source: dogsseizuresblog.net

Recent research has shown certain dogs are able to warn seizure patients that they’re going to experience an attack, sometimes hours before it happens. Nobody yet knows how they do it, or why only certain dogs can do it. They also can’t be trained to do it, so if you feel you need a seizure-sniffing dog, you need to make sure you have yourself a natural.

Source: news.nationalgeographic.com

5. Help Babies Stay Healthy By Being Dirty

Dog-not-sure-about-this-baby-thing Source: dogster.com

A recent study has shown that babies with dogs are actually healthier than those without dogs, reporting fewer coughs, runny noses, and ear infections. The reason, researchers believe, is because dogs will track in dirt, mud, and other germ-infested bits of earth, thereby boosting the child’s immune system.

Source: health.usnews.com

6. Help You Stay In Shape

DogJogStart Source: rei.com

A study from the University Of London has determined that kids with dogs are more active, and exercise more often, than kids without dogs. After all, it’s a lot more fun and interesting to go jogging with your dog than alone

Source: dogvacay.com

7. Detect Low Blood Sugar

reasons-you-absolutely-need-a-dog-in-your-life-19 Source: healtheo360.com

That sense of smell can do even more; dogs can also detect low blood sugar in their master. They will either alert the person that the sugar has dropped or, if a diabetic attack has already occurred, will bark and bark and bark in an attempt to alert somebody to come help, thus working to save the diabetic’s life.

Source: dlife.com

8. Help You Stay Away From Allergens

tumblr_lrez73iDcv1qz9xe2o1_1280 Source: thedailycorgi.blogspot.com

Food allergies are nothing to sneeze at; luckily, dogs have been shown they can be trained to detect certain allergens. So if you’re allergic to peanut butter, the dog will alert you if it detects anything with the scent of peanut in the room. Same with any other thing that may harm you or a loved one.

Source: articles.chicagotribune.com

9. Help You Be More Social

reasons-you-absolutely-need-a-dog-in-your-life-13 Source: google.com

The British Medical Journal has concluded that dogs act as “social catalysts,” who help people get out more, approach others more easily, and overall reduce isolation. This is actually more important than the basic companionship that dogs provide, as human social support is more beneficial to human health.

Source: bmj.com

10. Help Veterans Overcome PTSD

LaWxYqB Source: nytimes.com

Simply by being themselves, dogs have been shown to help reduce PTSD among soldiers. In addition to providing the usual doggie companionship, they have been shown to help sufferers come out of their shells, be less numb and angry, and improve their social life as well.

Source: smithsonianmag.com

11. Help Prevent Eczema In Kids

w-tia-older Source: americalovesdogs.com

In a surprising twist, it might actually be beneficial to get a dog for your baby, even if they’re allergic. Studies have shown that children under the age of one who live with a dog are much less likely to develop the chronic, and annoying, skin condition called eczema.

Source: healthnews.uc.edu

12. Heal Wounds Simply By Kissing You

hayden_panettiere_big_dog_veni Source: bangordailynews.com

A dog kissing you obviously feels wonderful, but it might actually have physical benefits too. Studies have shown that saliva, both the human and doggie variety, can help stimulate nerves and muscles, and get oxygen moving again, which is the secret ingredient in helping wounds to heal. In short, “licking your wounds” is not just a cliche after all.

Source: godsdirectcontact.org/

13. Make Their Elderly Owners Go To The Doctor Less

71200791.ESeHoPmN.01 Source: columbianewsservice.com

Almost certainly due to the positive vibes and good feelings that dogs bring out of their masters, even in the worst of times, studies have found that older people who own dogs average at least one less doctor appointment per year than those who do not.

Source: www.nytimes.com

14. Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Problems

reasons-you-absolutely-need-a-dog-in-your-life-3 Source: findavet.us

Preliminary studies by the American Heart Association are revealing that dog owners have less risk of heart disease than those without dogs. The reasons given are the exercise that owners get when walking their dogs, plus the presence of the dog helps the owner deal with stress better. The evidence is mostly anecdotal right now, but dog owners know that it’s all true.

Source: well.blogs.nytimes.com

15. Aid With Depression

reasons-you-absolutely-need-a-dog-in-your-life-18 Source: globalpost.com

Day-to-day depression, or even more serious chronic depression, is easier to handle with the love of a dog, studies show. Simply by having them around, and knowing that even at our worst, somebody loves us unconditionally and is eager to see us happy again, we’re given a reason to get up and keep going.

Source: webmd.com

16. Help College Kids Get Through Finals Week

il_fullxfull.463608263_62zo Source: palmbeachpost.com

Finals Week sucks; just ask any stressed-out college student, or anyone who’s ever been one. Many schools, thankfully, have found a way to help: dogs. Programs that provide therapy dogs to campuses for overworked students to pet, play with, or just plain cuddle with, have proven successful in calming down students and (hopefully) improving their test scores

Source: blogs.anselm.edu

17. Comfort Children With Autism

reasons-you-absolutely-need-a-dog-in-your-life-111 Source: paals.org

Autistic children often find the world very stressful, in ways that the non-autistic can’t understand. Luckily, a dog can. Studies are showing that bringing a therapy dog into an autistic household helps to reduce the amount of cortisol (a stress hormone) in the autistic child’s body. This both calms the child down and shows him that he has a friend.

Source: livescience.com/

18. Help Prevent Bullying

reasons-you-absolutely-need-a-dog-in-your-life-9 Source: wacoisd.org

Bullying has been a huge problem for a long time, and people are finally doing something about it. Dogs, too. Experimental programs have been launched that bring dogs into schools to promote empathy, with the lesson that you shouldn’t treat people badly, because you wouldn’t do it to a dog. Thus far, kids have been able to make the connection, which will hopefully continue to be the case.

Source: theweek.com

19. Help People With Fibromyalgia Stay Warm

Nn0ohMI Source: pets.webmd.com

Fibromyalgia is a debilitating disease that can leave its victim in constant pain. Studies have shown that the Xolo dog’s body temperature can be used as a kind of therapeutic heating pad, due to it being a hairless species. Of course, unlike heating pads, a Xolo will bond with you, snuggle with you and keep you warm as long as you need, leading to both external comfort and internal happiness.

Source: pawsforcomfort.com

20. Help People With Dementia Live A Better Life

reasons-you-absolutely-need-a-dog-in-your-life-8 Source: huffingtonpost.com

Dogs have shown that they can help keep dementia sufferers on schedule, reminding them when its time for medicine and when to see the doctor. In addition, when the owner experiences frustration over the state of their mind, the “dementia dog” is right there to support them, comfort them, and remind them that someone’s always there for them.

Source: huffingtonpost.com


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“Dogs are people to you know”

dogs are people too

Interesting Story of the Day from news.com.au:

RESEARCHERS have finally proven what animal lovers have known for centuries – dogs are people too.

Professor of Neuroeconomics Gregory Berns and his colleagues trained dogs to lie completely awake and unrestrained in MRI scanners in order to determine how their brains work and what they think of humans.

The problem with an experiment of this kind is that it requires absolute stillness and researchers couldn’t anesthetise the dogs because it shuts off brain function, which meant they had to be trained.