A few days back, a vet examined a German Shepherd which was brought in dead. The reason? Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV) simply referred to as bloating of the stomach. This occurs mostly in large breed dogs especially giant breed dogs and those with wider chests like Great Danes and German Shepherds. Pups and older dogs alike can suffer from it, though the odds of it occurring in aged dogs are much higher.
Dr. Nameeta Nadkarni has treated and saved many dogs with GDV. She, however, admits that only in few cases, the pet owners bring them in for a vet consultation and that too at the right time. “Most pet owners lack awareness of GDV. In most cases, the symptoms are mistaken for flatulence the like pet which died. He had vomited the night before but the owners did not think it was serious enough for a vet visit. By the time he was brought in at around 11:30 in the morning it was too late,” she laments.
The pet which could not be saved also paced and ran around after vomiting. It later tried to vomit but could not. These, Dr. Nadkarni believes are classic signs of GDV. Other common symptoms are frothing, drooling and heaving. However, it is not necessary that they would all occur together. In most cases, the heartbeat of dogs increases and nose and mouth areas turn moist. If pets vomit, they should check them for possible bloating or distension of the tummy and if so, should be rushed immediately to the vet. “There are stages of stomach distension like 180 degrees or 360 degrees, if they come in earlier, surgery has much more chance of being successful,” she says.
What Is It and Why?
GDV is one of those conditions where the reason is not known for certain. It could ingestion of fermented or raised foods or even excess activity immediately after eating. In non-medical terms, GDV is nothing but twisting of the stomach after dilation, and also rotates on its axis. As it rotates, other organs like heart are affected due to pressure on the abdomen. As the stomach rotates, it stalls the process of digestion and further delivery of nutrients to the body as well. If left untreated, it can be fatal and dogs can do from bad to worse very quickly. Immediate medical care can, however, save the pet and the owner from the resulting distress.
*Story written by Katya Naidu
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