A non-emergency gastropexy for your dog that is diagnosed with stomach dilatation-volvulus costs about $400. On the other hand, an urgent gastropexy will set you back at least $1,500.
The cause of canine gastropexy
To prevent twisting, the stomach of the dog is sutured to the body wall during this surgical process. The veterinarian will untwist the stomach and return it to its usual place before stitching it. Prophylactic gastropexy, a preventative procedure, is an alternative to stop a future episode of bloat. A gastropexy is most frequently performed as an emergency procedure in reaction to an incident of bloat. When doing a spay or neuter, veterinarians frequently perform a preventive gastropexy. But there is a minimally invasive procedure known as laparoscopic surgery that can be performed on dogs who have already undergone alteration. The most frequent mild consequence from a laparoscopic gastropexy is a transient skin fold.
What transpires to a dog following a gastropexy?
In order to avoid gastric torsion or gastric dilatation-volvulus, a surgical technique known as a gastropexy permanently bonds the stomach to the interior abdominal wall (GDV). Gastropexy is carried out concurrently with GDV surgery or prophylactically as an elective procedure in healthy dogs at risk for GDV. At the time of neutering, some veterinarians advise preventive gastropexy for certain dog breeds.
Elective gastropexy can be carried either laparoscopically for a less invasive method or during an open abdominal surgical procedure.
An open abdominal incision can be used to execute a gastropexy using a variety of surgical procedures. All procedures involve a laparotomy, or complete abdominal incision. The term “incisional gastropexy” refers to the procedure that is most frequently used. A small incision is created on the inner right abdominal wall and a second small incision is made on the stomach wall during this treatment. To create a long-lasting adhesion between the stomach and the body wall, the two incisions are then stitched together.
Following open abdominal surgery, recovery from gastropexy is no different from recovery from any other elective surgical treatment. Patients who have this surgery often rest and limit their activity for two to three weeks after the procedure. Owners are advised to feed frequently little meals throughout the day rather than just one or two large meals per day for the first two weeks after operation. They are also sent home with painkillers. Dietary habits can resume once you’ve recovered completely. The recuperation period is the same whether a gastropexy is performed on a dog concurrently with neutering or spaying.
Due to the less intrusive nature of gastropexy surgery, laparoscopy has grown in popularity in recent years. The stomach is externalised through a tiny cut in the body wall, and a rigid laparoscope is used to see and hold it. The minor incision on the outside of the body is used to execute an incisional gastropexy as previously mentioned. The scope is then used to view the gastropexy location from the abdomen. (See below, Figures 1-6)
When compared to open surgery gastropexy, laparoscopic gastropexy recovery is comparable. For two to three weeks, the patient is given rest, pain medication, and small, frequent meals. Only preventive surgery is a candidate for laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy. GDV-positive dogs will need open abdominal surgery.
Figure 1 shows a view of the abdomen as seen through a laparoscope. The graspers and stomach are seen at the bottom of the image.
Figure 3. To allow the dog’s stomach to be visible from the outside, a small incision is created on the right body wall. There is an incisional gastropexy.
Figure 5 depicts the two tiny incisions from a successfully performed laparoscopic gastropexy.
When may a dog undergo a gastropexy?
Preventative Gastropexya is the name of the procedure, which is frequently carried out in the early years of a dog’s life to significantly lower the likelihood of a future emergency.
Most frequently, this is carried out while your dog is already under anaesthesia during the desexing procedure. It can also be done concurrently with a keyhole spey.
A portion of your dog’s stomach is joined to the body wall during this treatment, preventing rotation.
Other choices include of:
- carrying out a gastropexy at 69 months of age. For large breed dogs, desexing at this age is not advised, thus this would be a stand-alone treatment.
- When full maturity is attained, which for large breed dogs is at roughly 18 months of age, perform a Gastropexy concurrently with the desexing. Regular desexing (traditional spey and castration) or a laparascopic (keyhole) spey with a laparascopic assisted gastropexy can be used to accomplish this.
Which canine breeds require gastropexy?
Large breed dogs may occasionally have a surgical operation called a gastropexy to stop bloat and gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV). A gastropexy can be carried either surgically to treat GDV or prophylactically (as a preventive intervention in a healthy dog prone to this illness) (to prevent recurrence after the stomach has been returned to its normal position).
What is gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV)?
Deep-chested, giant breed dogs are more likely to experience the life-threatening condition gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) than other breeds (for further information on this condition, see handout “Bloat: Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus in Dogs). Breeds include Great Danes, German Shepherds, Standard Poodles, Basset Hounds, Weimaraners, and Irish Setters are frequently impacted.
The life-threatening illness known as gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) is most frequently seen in deep-chested large breed dogs.
With GDV, the stomach becomes twisted on itself and distended with gas and/or fluid, making it impossible for the gas and/or fluid to leave. As a result, the stomach’s internal pressure increases and the blood supply to the stomach’s tissues is reduced. In some instances, the spleen might twist with the stomach and suffer a reduced blood supply. Blood supply problems can cause the spleen and digestive system to die (necrosis), and they can also have a severe impact on blood pressure and general health. GDV is lethal if not treated right away.
How does a gastropexy prevent GDV?
Your veterinarian will surgically “tack” the stomach to the right side of the body wall during a gastropexy. This will keep the stomach in place and stop it from twisting, which causes GDV. The surgery can be carried out using a variety of surgical techniques, but the most popular one entails making an incision through the stomach’s outer layer and a similar one on the interior of the body wall, where the stomach is to be positioned. These cuts reveal underlying tissue that is bleeding. Your veterinarian will use two lines of suture to attach the stomach to the body wall, allowing the exposed/bleeding tissue of the stomach and body wall to come into contact with one another. These incisions will join together as they heal, forming a scar tissue connection that will retain the stomach in a fixed position.
Additionally, gastropexies can be carried out endoscopically (using tiny incisions in the abdominal wall to insert instruments and a camera) or laparoscopically (using a camera and instruments inserted down the oesophagus and into the stomach). Laparoscopic or endoscopic gastropexy procedures are less invasive yet rare since they require specialised equipment that is often only found in specialised hospitals.
In what situations might my veterinarian recommend a gastropexy for my dog?
The following are the two main causes of gastropexy:
1) Gastropexy as a preventative. This gastropexy is carried out to avoid GDV. Young dogs at high risk get this procedure frequently when they are spayed or neutered. Great Danes are the breed in which prophylactic gastropexy is most usually advised, however any breed at high risk can still be a candidate. The chance of GDV, which is thought to affect 40% of Great Danes at some time in their lifespan, is dramatically decreased with prophylactic gastropexy.
2) Volvulus and dilation of the stomach. In order to untwist the stomach in dogs with GDV, emergent surgery is required, and gastropexy is a necessary part of this procedure. A gastropexy is done to secure the stomach in place to stop a recurrence once the stomach has been returned to its usual position. The likelihood of recurrence after gastropexy is decreased from 55% to 4%.
Prophylactic gastropexy dramatically lowers the probability that Great Danes may acquire GDV, which is predicted to occur in 40% of them at some time in their career.
What post-operative care is required after a gastropexy?
There is no additional post-operative care needed for a prophylactic gastropexy over and above that needed for a standard spay or neuter. For roughly seven days following surgery, patients should maintain their composure to promote healing. Pets should refrain from swimming or taking a bath at this time so that the incision may stay dry and clean. Running and jumping should also be avoided. Painkillers will probably be given to your dog and it’s crucial to utilise them exactly as prescribed.
Depending on the degree of stomach damage discovered during surgery, an emergency gastropexy done on a dog with GDV frequently necessitates more involved post-operative care. After surgery, the majority of dogs spend a few days in the hospital before being discharged to continue their rehabilitation at home. Your dog could need a prescription food and/or medicine in addition to the activity restriction necessary with a prophylactic gastropexy to protect the gastrointestinal tract.
How long does a dog need to heal after having a gastropexy?
The two incisions are stitched after the removal of the tools and laparoscope. The operation lasts between 35 and 45 minutes. Healing time for cuts is 7 to 10 days.
After a gastropexy, may a dog’s stomach flip over?
A gastropexy, or “pexy,” operation offers an alternative to kenneling your dog for an hour after meals and stressing every time they retch or gag. A veterinarian performs a gastropexy to surgically join the dog’s stomach to the body wall and prevent it from turning over. With a neutering or spaying procedure, or on its own, this can be done by your usual veterinarian. Given how simple the process is, your dog’s recovery time shouldn’t exceed the normal 2-week period after a standard neuter or spay.
Does Your Dog Need a Gastropexy?
In my opinion, a gastropexy should be performed on any shepherd, dane, mastiff, lab, majority of hunting and guardian breeds, or indeed any dog over 50 pounds, especially those with deep chests. When I was a college student, my own dog received a GDV, and I had to make a $3500 addition to my student loan balance in order to save him. Thankfully, we managed to get him to the hospital quickly.
Early in my veterinary career, I learnt that every shepherd and labrador retriever serving as military working dogs in any part of the United States Military (tens of thousands of dogs) receives a pexy, which confirmed my sentiments regarding pexies. Due of the unacceptably large number of military working dogs lost to GDV, the military made this a law. These can be stoic canines, so either the symptoms went unnoticed immediately away or they were unable to reach a hospital unit with a vet in time. To prevent the loss of these life-saving heroes, they now even go as far as to pexy any contractor’s dogs working with US soldiers downrange.
Do I need to have my dog’s stomach tacked?
My five-month-old Great Dane is being pushed by our vet to have his tummy stitched. Is this expensive operation actually necessary?
Some veterinarians advise routine stomach tacking, also known as gastropexy, for young dogs of particular breeds. The goal of this procedure is to avoid the bloat syndrome.
One of the worst things that may happen to a dog is bloat. The stomach twists inside the abdomen before expanding excessively when filled with gas. The body’s blood circulation is impaired. The dog is in excruciating pain. In the absence of immediate surgery, practically all bloated canines pass away within 12 hours. Even after surgery, a large number of affected animals pass away. The procedure is astronomically expensive, as are the required several days of ICU care during recovery. Surgery recuperation is a painful and drawn-out process.
Bloat can strike any dog, regardless of breed, age, or gender, at any moment. However, deep-chested dog breeds like Great Danes, Standard Poodles, and Labrador Retrievers are the ones with the syndrome the most frequently. Older canines are especially susceptible to bloat. The syndrome affects women more frequently than it does men. Dogs who have visited groomers, boarding houses, or egad, vets earlier in the day are more likely to get bloat at night when they are sleeping.
Undoubtedly, bloat is among the worst medical conditions a dog can experience. The likelihood of bloat is decreased (but not entirely eliminated) by stomach tacking.
This raises the issue of whether or not young, healthy members of high risk breeds like Great Danes and Standard Poodles should have their stomachs tacked in order to prevent the syndrome.
On this subject, no agreement has been achieved. But the majority of veterans I know—including me—would choose to oppose. It is probably not in the dog’s best interest to subject it to a significant operation in order to avoid an issue that might never arise. Although terrible, bloat is fortunately not very prevalent.
I should note, though, that there is a lot of area for disagreement on this issue. Many intelligent, sensible vets could disagree with what I’ve said.
In a perfect world, I wouldn’t do stomach tacking on dogs that weren’t likely to bloat in the future, just on those who were. Of course, I wouldn’t waste my time conducting procedures if I could foresee the future in that manner. I’d choose a few equities and winning lottery numbers, then retire in style.
Leonita, Tapping your dog’s tummy is not something I would advise. But I believe you should see a couple more veterinarians and seek a third, fourth, and fifth opinion. Neither my word nor the word of your first veterinarian should be considered final.