What is Bloat?
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus - more commonly known as "bloat" or "torsion" - is a potentially fatal gastrointestinal condition which mostly affects large breed dogs. In gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), the stomach flips over or twists, which traps air and gasses and cuts off the circulation of blood and oxygen to the stomach and spleen. If left untreated, bloat can kill a dog in a few hours, and has a mortality rate of between 10% and 26.8%.
Risk factors for dog Bloat (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus) include:
Eating and drinking rapidly
Exercising after eating
Having a first-degree relative with bloat
How is bloat prevented, and treated?
Bloat (GDV) is prevented, and treated, with a gastropexy surgery. In gastropexy surgery, which is often performed with a minimally invasive laparoscopic incision, the stomach is attached to the abdominal wall so that it cannot twist or flip.
Traditionally, gastropexy was performed only in response to a GDV emergency, but today it is usually done as a preventive (prophylactic) procedure when the dog is very young. A common time to perform the surgery is during neutering or spaying.
What dog breeds are most as risk from bloat?
Studies have found that the risk of bloat is the greatest with older, and giant and large breed, deep-chested dogs. Studies have found that the prevalence of GDV in these large dog breeds runs from 20 - 40%.
Dogs with deep and vertical chests are more likely to experience bloat because the tall chest cavity provides more room for the stomach to turn around and flip. In contrast, smaller and more compact dog breeds have rounder and broader chests, which don't give the stomach as much room to move.
Breeds that are particularly at risk of developing gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) include:
German Shorthaired Pointers