Flipped Stomachs in Dogs
On our most recent trip at Goodwater Loop, be ready for the upcoming trip report on Monday, BeeGee had a little bit of a scare. For a few minutes, I thought her stomach had flipped. A flipped stomach is also known as bloat or Gastric Dilatation Volvus (GDV). Thankfully, this wasn’t the case, but I thought I would post about it to raise awareness for dog owners.
What is GDV
GDV is two conditions happening at the same time. The first being that the stomach distends or fills up with gas and fluids. The second is that the stomach rotates and pinches off the passage to the esophagus and the intestines. This prevents the dog from moving gas and fluid from its stomach to its intestines. Also, the dog can no longer burp or vomit. The enlarged stomach can result in multiple problems, but one of the biggest is the reduced circulation of blood.
|A bloated dog: look at the increased size of the abdomen. Courtesy of GSRNE.org|
While GDV can occur in any dog, it appears more frequently in middle aged to older dogs. In addition, large dogs with barrel chest are more likely to suffer from GDV, like Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds. Furthermore, medium sized dogs occasionally get GDV. While GDV is very rare in small dogs, one exception is the Dachshund who are at higher risk because of their chest.
Besides size and breed, eating after vigorous exercise can result in GDV. Eating a large meal before or after exercise can lead to GDV. This can include drinking a large amount of water before or after exercise. Finally, a dog that has had its stomach flip once, is more likely to have a recurrence of GDV in the future.
Signs and Symptoms
There are multiple signs and symptoms, but not every dog presents the same way. Here is a list of some more common signs and symptoms:
- Restlessness and pacing
- Unproductive attempts to vomit
- Enlarged abdomen
- Pain if you press the stomach
- Walking stiff legged
- Stomach produces a hollow sound if tapped
Emergency treatment by a veterinarian will be required to remedy the situation. First, the vet will use a gastric tube to remove the gas and fluid from the stomach. Next, the vet will perform a surgery to return the stomach to its original position. Finally, the vet will check for any dead tissue and remove it as necessary.
There are multiple steps you can take to help reduce the chance your dog develops GDV. Here is a list of a few of the more common reccomendations:
Divide feeding into 2-3 smaller meals instead of one large meal
Do not feed your dog from an elevated bowl
Avoid dry dog food with a high fat content
Restrict water 1 hour before and after meals
Prevent your dog from drinking large amounts of water all at once
Avoid exercise on a full stomach
Another GDV preventative treatment is a gastropexy. This is when the dog’s stomach is attached the dog’s body wall to reduce the chance it will flip again in the future. This method of prevention can significantly reduce the chance of GDV in at risk breeds. However, it cannot reduce the likelihood to 0%.
So if you think there is any chance your pup has GDV make sure to get them to a vet quickly because interventions are most likely required. Plus, untreated dogs have a pretty high mortality rate; it approaches 60% in untreated dogs.