Would you be interested in learning about a fatal but curable ailment that might harm your dog? Of course! Unfortunately, we frequently discover that owners of dogs with this ailment were completely unaware of it until it was seriously endangering their animal’s life. Before they are faced with a seriously ill pet and the pricey surgery that will be required to save the pet’s life, we wish to inform pet owners about this risky illness.
Although it is unknown how many dogs in the US are diagnosed with gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) annually (the data simply has never been gathered), reliable estimates put the number in the tens of thousands, with some estimates as high as 60,000 instances annually. All dog owners ought to be aware of this problem, as well as how to spot and respond to bloat symptoms. This is a must-read if you own one of the high risk breeds (mentioned below).
If untreated, gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) is a dangerous disorder that can be fatal. GDV, often known as “bloat,” happens when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food, or fluid and twists as a result. GDV can proceed swiftly and without prior notice. There is always a crisis.
Simply having a distended stomach is referred to as a “simple dilatation or bloat. This straightforward bloating may develop on its own and may go away by itself. Bloat without twisting can still be fatal, but the risk depends on its intensity and length, according to Maureen Luschini, VMD, DACVECC, a board-certified specialist in veterinary emergency and critical care. It may continue for hours without becoming life-threatening in some circumstances.
According to Dr. Luschini, the issue is that it could at any time proceed to a GDV, in which the stomach twists and flips on its axis.
When that occurs, the pet owner won’t be aware of it. Because of this, keeping an eye on a bloat condition at home is quite risky for the owner.
Your dog is in a potentially fatal situation as a result of this stomach twisting and flipping. The surrounding organs are put under strain and have lessened blood flow when the stomach is significantly bloated with food, liquid, or gas. The twisted stomach is more serious since it entirely cuts off blood flow to vital organs and can shock a person because it affects blood flow throughout the entire body. Gastric dilatation-volvulus is the name for this condition (GDV).
“Large arteries and veins are under pressure as the stomach grows. According to Dr. Luschini, the stomach’s blood supply is cut off, poisonous substances accumulate, and tissues start to deteriorate.” Once GDV begins, dogs can enter shock extremely fast, and every minute without treatment raises the possibility of more injury and perhaps death.
Although it can happen at any age, middle-aged dogs tend to experience bloat the most. According to Purdue University research, danger rose 20% for every year of age. Nearly all breeds have been known to have experienced stomach dilatation (with or without volvulus), according to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, however the ailment is most frequently observed in large breed dogs with deep chests. These dogs typically have a high proportion of height to width “ratio of height to width Great Danes are 5 to 8 times more likely to bloat than a dog with a modest height to breadth ratio, according to the American Kennel Club.
Even though research is ongoing, the precise cause of GDV remains unknown. The following risk factors are believed to be associated with bloat:
- taking a quick bite
- consuming a lot of water in a short amount of time
- Elevated bowls for food
- stress (anxious dogs are thought to be more prone, as are dogs in stressful situations or environments such as boarding kennels)
- following a meal, exercise
- genetic influences
- greater age
GDV can happen suddenly and can move quite swiftly. Increasing your dog’s chances of survival requires being able to spot the early warning symptoms. Early indications of bloat may include:
- distended or enlarged abdomen
- uncomfortable stomach
- overall distresses appearance
- Retching or making unsuccessful attempts to vomit
- excessive salivation
- fast breathing or panting
- collapse or be unable to stand
The sooner the dog receives treatment for GDV, the better chance it has of surviving. The sick dog’s recommended course of treatment depends on how serious the condition is. At VMC, we strive for quick diagnosis confirmation, quick patient comfort (by relieving as much gas pressure as possible and by administering painkillers), quick stabilization, and quick readiness for operation. Bloated dogs without volvulus are typically treatable non-surgically.
“We have these pets diagnosed and in a much more comfortable state in a matter of minutes once we obtain the owner’s approval to seek therapy. When bloat is the main issue, the VMC operates like a well-oiled machine, claims Dr. Luschini. “We may discuss treatment and overall prognosis with the dog’s owners once we have more conclusive tests and are monitoring the dog’s comfort and vitals. There are a few unmistakable diagnostic signs that can let us know we’re dealing with a high-risk operation with a slim chance of success. In certain situations, we want the pet owner to be able to make an informed decision about whether to proceed with surgery.
The stomach must be surgically untwisted in order to be placed in the proper position. The procedure enables the vet to evaluate the extent of the harm brought on by the stomach’s twist blocking blood flow. Damaged tissue will be removed if any is present. There might not be enough live tissue to save in extreme cases if the illness has gone untreated for a longer period of time. Most of the time, pet owners can be warned of this danger prior to undergoing surgery with the right pre-surgical diagnostics.
A gastropexy is typically also carried out during the surgical operation. The stomach is stitched to the abdominal wall during a gastropexy. If bloat strikes again, this is intended to maintain the stomach’s position and prevent twisting. The probability of successfully preventing a GDV is 95%.
Timothy Robinson, DVM, DACVS, a board-certified specialist in veterinary surgery, states, “I strongly advise that all gigantic breeds and other at-risk breeds undergo a preventive gastropexy. “I would much rather see healthy dogs in the operating room for this treatment than see them in severe condition after a GDV surgery. This technique can be done at the time of neutering or on its own.
Dogs with GDV will not survive if they are not treated. However, if the illness is treated quickly, up to 80% of dogs do survive.
The American College of Veterinary Surgeons claims that as “disease severity and time grow,” the chance for consequences rises. Patients are among the factors that have been demonstrated to be responsible for bad results.
- with symptoms persisting for longer than six hours
- Having cardiac irregularities before surgery
- needing the removal of a section of the stomach because the blood supply has been cut off
- requiring the spleen to be removed
Of course, the prognosis varies for animals with other medical issues. Dogs may also need intensive care after surgery, including the potential need for blood transfusions and other specialist treatment, especially if they have any of the risk factors mentioned above.
Bloat can be prevented by taking preventative actions. The following are some currently advised tactics:
- Feed more regularly and in smaller portions, and limit exercise for 1-2 hours after meals.
- Useless to use higher food bowls.
- Never allow the dog to consume a lot of water at once.
- Avoid working out vigorously after eating.
All of these precautions won’t prevent the dog from bloating, but they might lessen the severity of the issue if it does.
A life-threatening condition is GDV. It is fatal if the problem is not treated. If a regular veterinarian is unavailable after hours or is unfamiliar with treating this ailment, pet owners should be aware of the location of the closest veterinary emergency hospital. Call ahead if you can and let them know you think you may have bloat. The sooner your pet receives veterinarian care, the better chance they have of making a full recovery. Time is of the essence when dealing with cases of bloat.
If your dog has a real GDV, it must be surgically treated for it to be curable. The only option that will spare the dog’s pain is euthanasia because surgery and post-operative care are expensive. There is no safe, “wait and see” strategy that can shield people from pain, misery, and final demise. We advise owners of breeds in the high risk group to set aside money for a preventive gastropexy rather than taking a chance on an expensive emergency surgery with a sick animal. This preventive procedure will also be covered by many pet insurance providers.
How can you prevent the stomach of a dog from twisting?
The dreaded bloat is one of the most terrifying and life-threatening emergency scenarios a dog lover may experience.
Describe bloat. Bloat is a misleading term. The ailment known as “bloat” causes the stomach to swell up with gas (occasionally liquid, occasionally too much food). This is extremely dissimilar to another illness where the stomach can also rotate on its axis in addition to bloating. This more severe illness causes a number of intricate changes that touch almost every organ and have the potential to be fatal. It is also known as stomach torsion, flipped stomach, or gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV). Both situations are frequently referred to incorrectly as “bloat,” which is confusing.
What are bloat and GDV risk factors? A dog is more likely to experience both bloat and GDV if:
- having a deep chest
- Exercise following a meal
- a dog of a huge or enormous breed2 (Great Danes are the breed with the greatest impact.)
- I’m a man1
- Getting old3 (over 7 years of age)
- having an infected first-degree relative3
- Having a low weight1
- consuming one meal each day1
- consuming a lot of food 1
- Eating rapidly1
- eating dried goods with fat as one of the first four elements
- being afraid1 (nervous or anxious)
“Stress in the medical sense of the term” is one of the most widely acknowledged variables known to cause bloat1. Nearly anything qualifies as it, including a dog show, thunder, a hospital stay, boarding, etc.
Can bloating be avoided? Bloat is quite challenging to prevent. By researching the risk variables, we can, at most, attempt to reduce the danger.
Here are some suggestions:
- Avoid strenuous exercise after a meal.
- Give your dog a few smaller meals throughout the day.
- Slow down your dog’s eating and check his food to make sure fat is not one of the top four ingredients.
A “happy” temperament is the major component that appears to reduce the incidence of bloat1. If your dog is a show dog or is scared of thunder, it may not always be simple to lessen his tension and anxiety.
Unfortunately, the majority of other criteria, such the gender, breed, and age of your dog, remain immutable. Although this is a long-term study, it is possible that improved genetic selection can benefit breeds like German shepherds, Setters, and Great Danes that are more at danger.
Is GDV preventable? Remember that GDV indicates that the stomach has twisted. Thankfully, this ailment is preventable.
To stop the stomach from twisting, a procedure called a gastropexy can be done. The stomach is tacked or sewn to the inside of the belly during surgery. The effectiveness of the prevention is at least 95% of the time when it is done appropriately.
The best periods to do a prophylactic gastropexy, or preventive surgery, are generally three:
- In my opinion, the optimum moment to neuter or spay your dog is when it is already under anesthesia, most likely when it is still a young animal.
- when having a lump removed on your dog while under anesthetic for another treatment
- Even if your dog isn’t having another operation, whenever you and your vet determine it’s a good idea
A gastropexy is a prerequisite if your dog needs surgery to cure bloat or GDV. Make sure your veterinarian will do this at the time of surgery if not, the condition is likely to return.
carrying out a gastropexy There are various techniques for carrying out a gastropexy. This is a crucial subject to go through with your veterinarian because the method chosen is not as crucial as the experience of the person performing it. Ask to be referred to a board-certified surgeon if you’re ever unsure.
It is imperative to realize that even if your dog is “tacked, bloat is still a possibility and necessitates a visit to the doctor or an emergency room. However, it is unlikely that surgery will be required.
In conclusion, you have no control over some risk variables. Thankfully, certain dangers can be minimized or completely avoided. Above all, find out if a preventive gastropexy might be beneficial for your dog from your family veterinarian or a surgeon. The surgery is easy and affordable, and it might well save your dog’s life.
Can a dog recover from a stomach twist?
The disease known as stomach bloat, or gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), causes a dog’s stomach to swell up with gas. In rare circumstances, food or liquid causes the stomach to swell.
The stomach typically turns in a clockwise direction when it becomes bloated. The esophagus and duodenum also twist and bend off as a result of the bloated and twisted stomach, trapping the gas there. In addition to making the animal extremely uncomfortable, the twist in the stomach also reduces blood flow to the stomach, which, if ignored, might lead to the death of the stomach and, eventually, the patient.
Another occurrence is the blockage of the main vein (vena cava), which transports blood from the back of the body to the heart and causes shock. If shock is not treated, which is a state in which the body receives insufficient blood perfusion, it can be fatal.
Stomach bloat typically occurs in a variety of breeds. Approximately 50% of Great Danes will bloat at some point in their lives.
In the course of their lives, about 1 in 5 Irish wolfhounds will bloat. Standard poodles, bloodhounds, Akitas, Irish setters, German shepherds, dachshunds, and Labrador retrievers are some other breeds that might have this condition. Both genders are equally impacted.
Clinical indicators of bloat consist include:
- Effortlessly retching
- abdominal squeezing
- White gums
- quick heartbeat
- poor pulse
Intravenous fluids are first given to assist the body recover from shock. In order to relieve gas and fluid buildup, the patient is then given anesthesia and a tube is inserted from the mouth into the stomach. The remainder of the food is subsequently flushed from the stomach with water.
The patient will be brought to surgery where the stomach will be untwisted after these pre-op treatments. To stop the stomach from twisting once more, it is stitched to the right side of the body wall in this instance (a procedure known as gastropexy). Sometimes a section of the stomach needs to be removed because it has necrosed. Euthanasia may be advised if the stomach is too lifeless. The spleen will be removed if blood clots have formed in it.
The patient is closely watched in the intensive care unit following surgery. After surgery, intravenous fluid therapy is continued. Transfusions of blood, artificial plasma (Hetastarch), and plasma may be required in specific circumstances. Following surgery, a variety of medications are used to manage pain. Other vital signs such as blood pressure and EKG are regularly monitored.
High-risk patients, including Great Danes, German Shepherds, bloodhounds, Irish Setters, Irish Wolfhounds, standard poodles, and other vulnerable breeds, might undergo preventative surgery to lessen the danger of bloat.
A telescopic camera and two small incisions are used to do this surgery laparoscopically. As young as six months old, the patient can have the procedure (at the time of neutering). This technique is less expensive than treating bloat, has less morbidity, requires less anesthesia and operation time, and requires a shorter hospital stay (being performed as an outpatient surgery).
About 90 to 95% of dogs receiving surgery to cure bloat will survive if they receive early treatment. The survival rate drops to 50% if a section of the stomach is discovered to be dead during surgery.
Patients who are bloated are more likely to experience irregular heartbeats, which, in rare cases, can be fatal if addressed. Disseminated intravascular coagulation is a rare condition that frequently leads to death and the dysfunction of several internal organs.
It is also possible for a gastropexy (stomach tack) to fail and cause persistent bloating and stomach twisting, but this is uncommon (less than 5% likelihood). Rarely occurring, chronic recurring bloating is typically caused by extremely weak stomach muscle activity.
Only around 50% of patients will have improvement in stomach motility after taking medication, though.