Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists 01425 485615

New procedure for GDV

A new, minimally-invasive procedure for the prevention of gastric dilation volvulus (GDV) / twisted stomach is now available at SCVS

SCVS are very happy to offer endoscopic-assisted gastropexy for the prevention of GDV in dogs.

Gastric dilation volvulus (GDV), commonly known as ‘twisted stomach’, is a life threatening emergency which sadly, can lead to death in dogs. The condition can occur in any breed but is typically seen in large and giant breed dogs such as Great Danes, Irish wolfhounds, Weimaraners, St Bernards and Irish Setters. Dogs which may be at higher risk of developing GDV include dogs with a history of bloating episodes, dogs with a deep chest, dogs with a relative that has been diagnosed with GDV and dogs with a nervous disposition.

Signs of GDV to look out for include pacing and appearing uncomfortable, enlargement of the abdomen (bloat), trying to be sick / non-productive vomiting and excessive salivation / drooling. If you notice any of these signs or are concerned about GDV, veterinary advice should be sought immediately. Why the stomach twists is unknown but it is often thought to start as an episode of bloat and the stomach then twists on itself. This cuts of the blood supply to the stomach and the stomach wall starts to die. There is also a ‘back-log’ of blood in the abdomen which prevents adequate circulation by the heart and the disease rapidly progresses to collapse / shock. Once the stomach twists, it cannot untwist by itself and emergency surgery is required. During surgery and once the stomach has been untwisted, it is sutured in a normal position to the wall of the abdomen to prevent the stomach from twisting again in the future. The procedure to prevent the stomach from twisting is called a gastropexy. If a gastropexy is not performed during surgery, recurrence will happen in >80% of dogs. Sadly, even with emergency surgery, some dogs do not recover from the condition.

Many people have advocated for gastropexy (suturing of the stomach to keep it in its normal position and thus preventing a GDV from happening) to be performed as a preventative technique in dogs considered at high risk of developing a GDV e.g. high risk breeds and / or dogs with previous episodes of bloat. A prophylactic / preventative gastropexy can be performed at any time and this typically involves a surgical procedure where the abdomen is opened and the stomach is sutured in place. SCVS are very happy to offer endoscopic-assisted gastropexy for the prevention of GDV in dogs. This procedure involves a relatively short anaesthesia and avoids complete opening of the abdomen.

If you think your dog may benefit from this procedure, contact us or speak to your local vet to organise a referral.