Gastropexy Procedures

For breeds or individuals at risk of developing GDV, a veterinarian may recommend a preventive gastropexy. Gastropexy is a procedure in which a portion of the stomach is sutured to the abdominal wall, to prevent it from twisting. The surgery can be performed at the same time as spay/neuter and can be conducted laparoscopically (which utilizes a tiny camera and leaves smaller incisions) to minimize associated risks.
The procedure prevents nearly 100% of GDV’s from occurring; however, a few pets do still develop GDV later in life, for a variety of reasons.

What is gastric dilatation-volvulus?
Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) is the distension (dilatation) and twisting (volvulus) of the stomach. It is also commonly referred to as gastric torsion or bloat.
This disease progresses rapidly and is life-threatening.

GDV begins when a dog’s stomach fills with excessive amounts of gas, food, and fluid and then twists, closing off its entry and exit points.

After the torsion (volvulus) has occurred, the stomach may continue to grow in size as specific physiologic mechanisms allow even more gas and fluid to accumulate. The subsequent increase in pressure and size of the stomach can have cascading and potentially fatal consequences, including:

  • Compression of major blood vessels, which prevents the normal flow of blood to and from abdominal organs and leads to shock
  • Difficulty breathing, because the distended stomach prevents the lungs from fully expanding
  • Hypoxia (insufficient oxygen reaching the tissues), caused by both reduced blood flow and difficulty breathing
  • Cardiac arrhythmias, caused by toxins in the bloodstream and lack of oxygen
  • Damage to, or failure of, the liver and kidneys
  • Damage to, or rupture of, the stomach wall
  • Bacteremia (bacteria in the blood), and sepsis (widespread infection)
  • Swelling or rupture of the spleen

There are many proposed cause(s) of GDV, but we do not fully understand every possible cause.
Some causes relate to anatomical features that make it more difficult for gas to escape the stomach or features that allow the stomach to move more freely than it usually would. For example, dogs with large, deep chest cavities are more likely to develop GDV.
Dogs who are naturally nervous or fearful are also at increased risk.

What are the signs of gastric dilatation-volvulus?
The typical signs of gastric dilatation-volvulus include:

  • Gagging, retching, or vomiting
  • Ptyalism (drooling/hypersalivation)
  • Distended abdomen
  • Restlessness or pacing
  • Depression
  • Looking at the abdomen
  • Standing and stretching
  • Panting
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Dyspnea (trouble breathing)
  • Tachypnea (abnormally rapid respiration)
  • Tachycardia (abnormally high heart rate)
  • Weak femoral pulses

Most Common Patient
The most common predisposing factor is a deep chest.
Older dogs, underweight dogs, large-breed dogs, deep-chested dogs, and dogs with a family history of the disease are at highest risk for GDV.

GDV or Bloat, is a life threatening emergency. If you see any of the signs above, seek medical care immediately. Time is of the essence.  Help prevent GDV from occurring with a gastropexy procedure for your pet. We are happy to answer any questions you may have (210) 651 – 0100.

Your veterinary team at Friendship Pet Hospital and Wellness Center
(210) 651 – 0100