Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)
Written by: M.L. Gaynor, DVM
Commonly referred to as bloat, torsion, twisted stomach, Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) is one of the most dire emergencies we see.
Who Gets It?
Diagnosis and Treatment
The ONLY cure for a GDV is immediate stabilization and surgery. Copious amounts of fluids are given to treat the cardiovascular shock, the stomach is decompressed (by either passing a stomach tube or trocarization (the action of using a trocar to penetrate the stomach), and then surgical correction of the condition is performed as soon as possible. In surgery the stomach is flipped back into normal position and the stomach and spleen are examined. Sometimes the spleen needs to be removed if the blood supply has been compromised. If the blood supply to the stomach has been compromised (necrosis) for long enough then the tissue of the stomach may not be viable and it will require surgical removal. After the stomach and spleen have been evaluated the stomach is then sutured to the right side of the body wall (gastropexy). This will keep the stomach in place and prevent any future GDV's.
Gastric necrosis requiring stomach resection is associated with a guarded to grave prognosis. There are some presurgical blood values that can hint at what we will find but unfortunately there is no way to know what the stomach is going to look like until we are in surgery.
The compromise to the circulatory system, both before surgery and for up to 72 hours after surgery can result in an abnormal heart beat called Ventricular Premature Contractions. These can be monitored and treated but sometimes can cause sudden death.
Some suggestions are; feed several smaller meals rather than a once a day feeding, avoid running and playing before and after a meal, avoid stress, and do not feed from an elevated position.
There are some veterinarians that are recommending a preventative gastropexy that can be done at anytime but is often performed at the time of spay or neuter. The thought being to do the gastropexy before they experience a GDV.
If you ever suspect your dog has a GDV have him/her seen by a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. Guardian Veterinary Centre is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for reasons such as this. A GDV surgery can be a huge finanacial commitment so this is another good reason to talk to your family veterinarian about pet insurance.