Meet Rudy – the three-year-old German Shepherd – a regular visitor of the Berwick Veterinary Hospital. Perhaps he was after a change of scenery, or merely wanted to keep his dedicated owners on their toes – either way, he managed to land himself a visit to the after-hours emergency clinic earlier this month, with a serious case of Gastric Dilatation (Bloat) and Gastric Dilatation -Volvulus (GDV), commonly referred to as Twisted Stomach.

For those who are unfamiliar with this serious and life-threatening condition, GDV is most commonly seen in large, deep chested dogs, although any dog may be affected. This disorder arises when the stomach fills with gas, causing gastric dilatation or “bloat”. In some cases, there is no further progression, however commonly the huge, gas-filled stomach twists upon itself so that both the entrance and exit of the stomach become blocked, requiring emergency surgical correction.

Early symptoms of GDV including a distended (bloated) stomach, pacing and retching or unsuccessful vomiting were all apparent in Rudy’s case, leading his owners to take swift action. Rudy was admitted to an after-hours veterinary hospital, where he was assessed, X-rayed and then admitted for immediate surgical intervention.

During surgery, the stomach was returned to its normal position. A procedure known as a Gastropexy was also performed, whereby the stomach wall was sutured to the abdominal wall, preventing a re-occurrence of GDV. In many cases, the prognosis for GDV can be poor, however we’re pleased to report that Rudy has made a somewhat slow, but splendid recovery and has been checking in regularly with the BVH team for ongoing post op care.

While the cause of GDV is still unknown, the condition is seen most commonly in large breed dogs that eat or drink rapidly, followed by vigorous exercise. Stress is also thought to be a contributing factor.

Our team of vets and nurses are always available to discuss these conditions with you further, so like Rudy’s owners, you can be armed with accurate knowledge and tools to assist your pet in the event of a medical emergency. Well done to Rudy’s family for ensuring he received the very best of care!