Bronx’s scare with Gastric Dilation Volvulus
This radiograph is an example of a condition called GDV (gastric dilation volvulus). The classic hallmark of GDV is the stomach appearing like a ‘popeye arm’. It is a condition in which the stomach bloats and then twists on itself causing life threatening changes and is an emergency situation. It is most common in deep chested dogs– with Great Danes being the most represented, this radiograph is of a standard poodle. Some of the most common signs seen are retching, abdominal pain (can show a ‘praying position’), hypersalivation, and restlessness. If any of these signs are seen, especially right after a meal, your dog needs to be seen immediately. Once these signs are seen and GDV occurs, surgery is almost always required, which does not always have the best outcome. This dog was very lucky to not need surgery as he had a rather large belch and then luckily the stomach twisted back on itself, back to normal.
Gastropexy is an operation that is recommended in these breeds of dogs which will not allow the stomach to twist. The stomach is tacked to the body wall so while they can still bloat, it cannot twist which is the life threatening part of the condition. Other things that can be done at home to decrease their risks is giving food and water in bowls on the floor (not elevated), to feed smaller meals more frequently and to not allow them to be active for at least 30 minutes after eating.
Bronx is doing great at home, and while he gave his family a big scare, he was very lucky to have avoided surgery. He was very lucky that his family was home to notice these signs and had him seen right away.