If you have a deep- and narrow-chested dog, it’s important to know the signs of bloat and torsion, otherwise known as Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus, or GDV. Due to an accumulation of air, fluid, and/or foam in the stomach (“gastric dilatation”), the dog’s stomach swells. As the stomach swells, it may rotate 90° to 360°, twisting between its fixed attachments at the esophagus (food tube) and at the duodenum (the upper intestine). The twisting stomach traps air, food, and water in the stomach. The bloated stomach obstructs veins in the abdomen, leading to low blood pressure, shock, and damage to internal organs. The combined effect can quickly kill a dog.
A few days ago, one of our clients called our emergency line late at night. Her Great Dane was showing some of the classic symptoms of GDV:
- Attempts to vomit that were unsuccessful (dry heaves)
- Hunched appearance
- Drooling and foaming
The dog also had a slightly bloated abdomen that felt tight, but this was not the most obvious symptom.