Since recently taking a course in pet first aid, I learned about GDV and the possible causes for it. I wanted to share it with all pet owners and let our clients know that C & G Pet Sitting always exercises your dogs before feeding them to reduce the risk of this complication.
GDV stands for Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus. It is also commonly referred to as bloat or gastric torsion.
GDV is a life-threatening condition of dogs in which their stomach twists and distends with gas (torsion). In some cases the stomach merely distends with gas and does not twist (bloat).
Is it serious?
Yes – this is probably the most serious non-traumatic emergency that occurs in dogs. Mortality rates without prompt veterinary treatment are high (without treatment, the dog will almost certainly die). Even in fairly uncomplicated cases that are treated promptly, mortality rates are in the region of 10-18%
What causes GDV?
We are uncertain exactly what causes GDV to occur, but it is most commonly seen 2-3 hours following ingestion of a meal, particularly if it follows strenuous exercise or after drinking a large amount of water.
What breeds of dog suffer from GDV?
All dogs can suffer from GDV, but it is much more likely to occur in large, deep chested breeds such as German Shepherds, Dobermans, Great Danes and Setters. The risk of GDV increases with age and is more common in pedigree dogs.
What symptoms will I see?
Some of the early signs of GDV include a change in behaviour or restlessness, increased breathing rate or effort, excessive drooling, vomiting white froth or trying, unsuccessfully, to vomit. As the condition progresses you may notice your dog’s abdomen become enlarged, the gums become pale, the heart rate is high and your dog may collapse.
What happens to my dog?
The distended stomach presses on the diaphragm and other internal organs, causing problems with the cardiovascular system (circulation) and respiratory system. This makes it difficult for your dog to breathe and for his heart to get blood (and oxygen) around the body, as it should. Your dog will very rapidly go into shock. While the stomach is twisted, the blood supply to the stomach and also sometimes the spleen is affected meaning that the stomach wall and spleen can start to necrose (die).
What should I do?
If you suspect your dog has a GDV it is imperative you seek immediate veterinary treatment. Success rates decrease the longer the delay in starting treatment.