Poppy is a very beautiful 6 year old Bernese Mountain Dog. Recently, Poppy was rushed down to our 24 hour emergency hospital at Storrington when her Mum noticed something very wrong. It was quickly diagnosed that Poppy was suffering from a life threatening condition known as a GDV or Bloat. This is an emergency condition seen in all breeds of dog, however it is seen most commonly in deeper chested breeds.
Along with many emergency conditions, we cannot emphasise enough that the key to good survival and recovery is speed! Fortunately Poppy’s Mum was very clued up on the condition and as we are open 24 hours there was no delay in Poppy receiving the emergency surgery she desperately needed. On Poppy’s arrival the entire AVG team leapt into action.
We are delighted to report, Poppy has made a full recovery and the photo below is of her final discharge appointment 10 days after her surgery.
Gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV) – otherwise know as bloat.
This is an extremely serious condition we see in dogs and it would be fair to say this type of phone call always sets the vets hearts racing as we leap into action! This is a condition where time most certainly is of the essence.
Firstly we will talk about symptoms and what you as the owner may notice at home.
* Attempting to vomit, often unsuccessfully. Unsuccessful vomiting may sound like a cough being repeated over and over
* Restlessness and anxiety. Your dog may not want to lie down and will pace, often with the appearance of stiff legs
* Your dog may appear hunched over
* Heavy salivating or panting
* Weakness and collapse
* Gums may appear pale or off colour, as the seriousness progresses you will notice the gums begin to start to turn a dark red or blue colour (cyanotic), however by this stage we would hope your dog would be in our care and starting to receive life saving treatment
* Finally and the most obvious sign of all is your dog will start to appear bloated and the abdomen will be tight, sounding like a drum. It is worth mentioning here though that you may not notice the bloating, so if your dog is showing any of the other signs please all us without delay.
Causes of GDV
In many cases this condition is described as idiopathic. This means the syndrome is not completely understood and a reason can not be identified. However often it is seen because a dog has been exercised after eating or is a fast eater.
It can also follow a period of anxiety, perhaps a change in routine for a more anxious dog.
Bloat tends to be seen most in more deep chested dogs, typically Great Danes, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, Bulldogs, Boxers etc but it is vital to remember this can occur in any breed of dog, particularly larger breeds.
As the name suggests there are two types of stages to this condition.
The first part the dilation/bloat refers to the stomach filling up with air. This puts pressure on the neighbouring organs, in particular the diaphragm, making it difficult for the dog to breathe normally.
As the stomach inflates it also begins to put pressure on large veins within the stomach, compromising important blood flow.
Now for the volvulus part, the stomach now filled with air (and most probably food) is now pretty large and if you can imagine the stomach is now swinging like a pendulum. It then very easily begins to rotate on itself up to 360°. This then cuts off the blood supply and the stomach begins to die. From this moment on you now have a critically sick dog on your hands. This dog needs immediate emergency surgery and often something called a Gastroplexy is performed.
The main thing to remember is this is NOT a condition you can manage at home. Immediate emergency surgery is required and we would urge you to call us without delay.
Is there anything you can do to prevent this condition?
Yes, possibly, but not always.
We would advise owners of larger or deep chested breeds to be aware of this condtion and the early signs, otherwise follow these tips.
* Do not exercise your dog for at least an hour before or after eating
* Do not allow your dog to eat rapidly. Invest in a slow feeding bowl if necessary
* Feed 2 or 3 meals a day rather than 1
*Try to avoid rapid drinking.
Please always call us with any questions and remember we are available 24/7.