Treatment Type: Diagnostic Procedures
Rated for: Great Dane
By M Teiber DVM
Illinois, United States
Posted Aug. 12, 2018
An abdominal x-ray is one of the most important steps in diagnosing a gastric-dilatation volvulus (GDV, or bloat). GDV occurs when the stomach becomes gas-filled and flips over in the abdominal cavity. It is a severe condition, potentially fatal, and always an emergency. A dog with GDV has the best chance of survival when it is diagnosed early.
Dogs with GDV often have non-productive retching, a bloated appearance in their abdomen, and marked weakness. Sometimes patients are not stable on presentation and emergency treatments such as fluids, pain meds, and oxygen are administered. As soon as a patient is stabilized, abdominal x-rays should be taken. This is quick and non-invasive. X-rays are the best way to confirm a suspicion of GDV. In GDV, the stomach as a characteristic bloated appearance, and often appears as two discrete segments due to the twisting, or volvulus, that occurs. The minute an x-ray is taken, the veterinarian can confirm the diagnosis of GDV and can proceed with appropriate treatments. All dogs with suspected GDV should have an x-ray as soon as possible.