Gastric dilatation is a condition that can develop in many different breeds of dogs. The condition is commonly associated with large meals and causes the stomach to dilate because of food and gas and may get to a point where neither may be expelled. As the stomach begins to dilate and expand, the pressure in the stomach begins to increase. The increased pressure and size of the stomach may have several severe consequences, including preventing adequate blood return to the heart from the abdomen, loss of blood flow to the lining of the stomach, and rupture of the stomach wall. As the stomach expands, it may also put pressure on the diaphragm preventing the lungs from adequately expanding, which leads to decreased ability to maintain normal breathing. Additionally, the stomach can become dilated enough to rotate in the abdomen, a condition called volvulus. The rotation can occasionally lead to blockage to the blood supply to the spleen and the stomach wall requiring surgical removal of the dead tissues. Most of these patients are in shock due to the effects on the
Who is at risk?
There is an association in dogs that have a deep chest (increased thoracic height to width ratio), dogs that are fed a single large meal once daily, older dogs and dogs that are related to other dogs that have had the condition. Commonly seen breeds are Great Danes,
Weimaraners, St. Bernards, Irish Wolfhound, Irish setters and Gordon setters. Female and male dogs are represented equally and dogs as young as 10 months and as old as 14 years have been recognized.
What is a Gastropexy?
A gastropexy is where the stomach is tacked to the right side of the abdominal wall, so it cannot shift or twist. The primary indication for gastropexy is to prevent the development or recurrence of gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Prophylactic gastropexy is currently
being recommended by many veterinary surgeons for breeds at risk for development of the condition or in dogs that have relatives that have been related to others that have had this condition. Prophylactic gastropexy can often be done at the same time as spay/neuter surgeries. For more information on whether a gastropexy may be indicated for your dog, talk to a Kingsbrook staff member.