Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) is a condition affecting primarily the large breed dogs (although it can occur in small breed dogs) in which the stomach fills with air and liquid and rotates within the abdomen. Common breeds affected by this condition include Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, and German Shepherds.
The cause of this condition is not fully understood. Symptoms of gastric dilation or GDV include lethargy, discomfort and restlessness, non-productive retching/vomiting, and a distended stomach.
What to expect when you arrive at the emergency hospital?
After an initial evaluation of your pet’s vitals (temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, mucous membrane color, and pulse quality), the veterinarian will likely request permission to take an abdominal x-ray. Abdominal x-rays help confirm the diagnosis of a GDV.
If your pet is definitely diagnosed with a GDV, immediate treatment is necessary because unfortunately, this condition is life-threatening.
Treatment for GDV:
Your pet will immediately be treated with pain medication and intravenous fluid therapy. A stomach tube will potentially be passed through their mouth and into their stomach (if possible) to relief some of the stomach distension. After initial stabilization, surgery will be required to de-rotate the stomach and to evaluate the abdomen for any complications associated with the condition. During the surgical procedure, a gastropexy will be performed to adhere the stomach to the body wall in the hopes of preventing a future torsion.
Your pet will need to be monitored in the hospital for at least 48 hours after the surgical procedure to monitor for common complications including abnormal heart rhythms, electrolyte disturbances, abdominal discomfort, etc.
Survival rate depends on the severity of distention, the amount of time before treatment, and degree of shock present. Approximately 60-70& have dogs will survive when very aggressive therapy is initiated quickly.
Contact us now if your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms.