Gastric Dilatation Volvulus

GDV stands for Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus. This life-threatening condition is caused by the filling of the stomach with gas; “bloat” or gastric dilatation; and the twisting of the stomach over itself; volvulus. When the stomach twists it blocks off the entrance and exit, this requires surgery to fix.

1. Most common in the large breed, deep-chested dogs.

  • Great Dane
  • St. Bernard
  • Weimaraner

While it is more common in these large breeds, it is possible for any dog breed to bloat.

2. The most common preventative surgery for GDV is a gastropexy. This is when part of the stomach is secured to the abdominal wall so that it cannot flip. Surgery does not prevent bloat but does prevent torsion (volvulus)

3. GDV is concerning because:

  • It halts natural digestion which can cause organ damage
  • The gas-filled stomach presses on major vessels in the abdomen causing blood and oxygen deprivation, which can cause shock
  • The large stomach also presses on the diaphragm making breathing more difficult.

4. You can decrease the risk of bloat by:

  • Feeding small meals more frequently
  • Keeping your dogs quiet after meals
  • Mixing both canned and dried food for meals

5. Some factors that increase risk are:

  • Eating quickly
  • Family history of bloating
  • Age ( We find that seniors, 7+ years, are more likely to bloat)

Written by: Aurora Animal Clinic