Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV)

GDVDilatation is distention of the stomach, usually with air or food. Volvulus is when the stomach actually rotates on its axis.  GDV is also called “bloat.”  There are different degrees of distention and/or rotation.  Rotation is the dangerous part of this disease, while distention can resolve with time.  This difference is, when the stomach rotates, there is no exit for the stomach gases because the intestines are twisted off by the rotation.


This event is a life threatening emergency because the distended and rotated stomach can obstruct normal blood flow, causing the dog to go into shock. The stomach tissue can also die or rupture with prolonged GDV. The spleen can also become twisted.


GDV tends to occur in large breed dogs, such as Great Danes, German Shepherds, and Doberman Pinschers. While the exact cause is unknown, several factors are known to predispose dogs to GDV, such as:


•    Increasing age
•    Large breed dogs with deep and narrow chests
•    Family history of GDV
•    Breed, a nervous temperament
•    Faster speed of eating
•    Feeding from a raised food bowl
•    Feeding once daily
•    Feeding a large volume of food per meal
•    Purebreds are afflicted 3 times more than mixed breeds
•    Males are twice as likely as females


The most common sign is non-productive vomiting, where your dog may retch and only bring up foam. Other signs include a distended abdomen, excessive salivation, collapse, and pain.


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