Gastric Dilation and Volvulus Syndrome (GDV) in dogs

It´s an emergency situation which can happen to any dog of any breed or size, although large breed and heavy chested dogs are more prone to this condition.

Gastric Dilation and Volvulus Syndrome (GDV), often referred to as bloat, causes the stomach to dilate and twist on itself.

Increased pressure in the stomach can cause life-threatening consequences, including preventing blood flow around the stomach and body and potential rupture of the stomach wall.

Often associated with eating a large meal, owners will usually notice their dog´s belly is bloated and hard. Other symptoms of GDV can include:

  • Restlessness
  • Pacing
  • Gagging without being able to bring up food
  • Increased salivation
  • Heavy breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Collapse

It´s important to note that symptoms can vary and initially these can be mild. Bloat, however, is a serious condition and can take a dog´s life quickly so if you notice your dog is bloated, or are concerned about their health, it´s best to seek urgent medical treatment.

Preventing bloat is difficult however there are correlations between eating large meals and exercise. Some activities which can assist include:

  • Feed your dog small meals throughout the day, rather then one large meal
  • Don´t exercise your dog within one hour either side of eating
  • Keep a particular eye on older dogs, as they are more prone to GDV
  • Slow down your dog´s eating
  • Ensure your dog eats a proper, balanced diet which isn´t high in fat.
  • If your dog has a relative who has had GDV, or is in a high risk category, you can speak to your vet about the benefit of preventative surgery, where the stomach is stitched to the body wall, preventing it from twisting.
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