Acute Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) is a dramatic and enigmatic disease syndrome. It is characterised by abnormal distension as well as displacement (“turning”) of your pet’s stomach and typically occurs in deep-chested large breed dogs. Despite many studies no signal factor has emerged as the cause of GDV. Currently it is believed that a variety of risk factors (e.g. breed, genetics, overeating, aerophagia etc.) have an additive interaction eventually resulting in GDV. GDV is a severe potentially life-threatening emergency condition that requires immediate veterinary care.
Typical clinical signs of animals suffering from GDV are abdominal distension, discomfort, weakness, rapid shallow breathing, repetitive attempts to vomit or vomiting up white slime.
In order to save your pet’s life your vet will have to admit your pet into hospital. The vet will place your pet on a drip with a high fluid rate to treat cardiovascular shock, take x-rays to assess the position of the stomach and then deflate and lavage (“flush out”) your pet’s stomach. Deflating and lavaging the stomach is done while your pet placed under general anaesthesia for a short while. This is done in an attempt to return the stomach back to its normal position and to remove all gas and gas-producing food from the stomach.
Once your pet is stable enough your vet can perform a surgery called a gastropexy. This surgery involves attaching the stomach in its normal rotation to the body wall. This prevents your pet’s stomach from being displaced (“turning”) and a GDV happening again in future. It also gives your vet the opportunity to make 100% sure the stomach is in the correct position, to look for any damage of the stomach wall and correct any problems detected. As it is in the best interest of your pet we recommend this surgery.
After deflating the stomach and performing the gastropexy your pet will need to be hospitalized for about 3 days. This is done in order to keep your pet on medication and to continuously assess your pet for any complications after a GDV. While in hospital your pet will be kept a drip, receive symptomatic treatment against nausea and pain, get daily abdominal ultrasound scans to look for early signs of infection, receive broad-spectrum antibiotics to try to stop infections as well as 24/7 supportive nursing care. We take great pride in not only providing your pet with the best medical care but also making sure they get all the love and care they need to make a speedy recovery.
Your vet will keep you up to date daily with your pet’s progress. It is TAH’s policy that if your pet deteriorates in any way we will phone you immediately to inform you of your pet’s condition, day or night. It is best to speak to your vet before visiting to find out if visiting would be in the best interest of your pet.
Your pet will be discharged out of hospital once he is alert, stable, not vomiting and eating again. Surgery sutures will have to be removed by your vet 14 days after the surgery. Some pets will need to be fed small amounts of food frequently instead of big meals the first couple of days after discharge. Please ask your vet at discharge exactly what and how much you need to feed your pet. If your pet shows any signs of lethargy, inappetance, vomiting, bloating or large amounts of discharge from the surgical site please contact your vet.