Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) or better known as bloating is a life-threatening phenomenon. Generally, large dogs suffer from GDV when their stomach flips over (sometimes can be greater than 180 degrees) and result in filling up of gas. GDV requires immediate medical help and surgery usually within six hours.
What causes GDV/ Bloating?
Expert veterinarians believe that the ‘Deep Chested’ breed of dogs and dogs which are old are more susceptible to bloating. German Shepherds, Saint Bernards, Great Danes are some of the breeds which are at high risk. Unhealthy eating schedules, once-daily feeding, gulping down food very quickly, etc are some of the predisposing factors for bloating. Bloating can be a symptom of bigger life-threatening problems like cancer or splenic disease. When a dog suffers from bloating, the stomach cannot pass the food, fluid further due to volvulus. This results in irregular stretching of the stomach and built-up of gas. Besides this, swallowed foreign objects (cloth, toys) can also obstruct the food passage. When a dog is under stressful condition, they gulp a large amount of air. This is known as ‘Aerophagia’ which causes the stomach to bloat.
Treatment for GDV/ Bloating.
When you see symptoms of bloating then immediately take them to the vet. Make sure the dog is comfortable when you are taking them to the hospital. The dog shouldn’t be allowed to lean on its back as this can be dangerous.
A vet can confirm GDV by physical examination. When the belly is tapped gently, it may produce a ‘ping’ sound. Your dog may also suffer from a weak pulse and arrhythmia. Supplementary oxygen is also provided if the dog has difficulty in breathing. To confirm GDV, some tests, blood work and x-rays are necessary. After the results of the test, if it is confirmed that your dog is suffering from mild bloat (without volvulus) then hospitalization and medical care can cure your dog. If GDV is confirmed then medical surgery is the only way to cure it.
After surgery monitoring is crucial for the first 72 hours. Heart rate and blood pressure are monitored closely. Your dog is kept on fluid therapy and medicines to avoid nausea. In cases of post-surgery heart arrhythmias, ‘Lidocaine’ a special medication is administered.