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GDV - A large breed's worst nightmare

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

GDV, Gastric dilation volvulus commonly known amongst dog owners as "bloat" is a very serious life-threatening condition that typically affects large or giant breeds of dog. It happens when a dog's stomach bloats and then turns or twists.

The cause of a GDV is not known or proven but it is sometimes associated with eating a large quantity of food immediately before or after exercise.

Symptoms of GDV

  • Trying to vomit but not producing any

  • A bloated appearance to the abdomen

  • Faster breathing

  • Collapse

  • Painful abdomen

Cases of GDV require immediate veterinary attention so if you suspect your dog may have a GDV then phone our 24-hour phone number 01635 47170

Why is a GDV so serious?

When the stomach is bloated it can press on the dog's diaphragm and other vital organs, this causes difficulty with their circulation and ability to breathe.

This can quickly cause the dog to collapse. The twisted stomach will also have a compromised blood supply and this will also affect other organs around it like the spleen.

What can we do about GDV?

Veterinary attention as early as possible gives dogs the best chance of surviving a GDV. A GDV can not be treated at home. Supportive treatment to treat the shock and collapse is usually the first thing to happen and an x-ray will be taken to confirm a GDV. Surgery is required to physically decompress the stomach and twist it back into the correct position. A gastropexy will be performed which means the dog's stomach is attached to the dog's body wall to hold the dog's stomach in position and prevent future twists.

A hospital stay whilst the dog recovers from the surgery is essential but the length of this really depends on how quickly they get back on their feet, eating and drinking normally.

Wicket's story

On the 12th of June, this handsome German Shorthaired Pointer called Wicket, found himself suffering from all the textbook symptoms of a GDV. He was trying to vomit but not producing anything, he was collapsing and groaning in pain. Although his owners didn't know exactly what was happening, they knew something serious was wrong so they called our hospital in Newbury for advice. They were advised to bring Wicket in to see us as quickly as they could so that he could be assessed by the vet on call. A quick diagnosis of a GDV was made after taking an X-ray.

GDV, X-ray dog emergency
X-ray showing the twist in Wicket's stomach
"Although his owners didn't know exactly what was happening, they knew something serious was wrong"

Treatment and pain relief quickly began for Wicket and emergency surgery was performed to untwist his stomach. Life-saving surgery was a huge success and Wicket was very soon in recovery on the ward. He actually bounced back very quickly compared to other cases and this could be because of the fast actions of his owners and the Veterinary team on call.

Dog, GDV, German shorthaired pointer
The handsome Wicket enjoying life

Wicket's owners had this to say - "We would like to thank DGV for the amazing care Wicket received from the vets & nurses. It was a really scary experience for us but we knew Wicket was in very capable hands. Nothing was too much for them and they kept in regular contact with updates on how he was doing, We couldn’t imagine sending our boy anywhere else, thank you for saving him! "


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