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Published: Jan 16, 2012

Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) syndrome is a very dangerous disorder that most commonly affects large, deep-chested dogs, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Although the exact cause is unknown and there are many possible risk factors, GDV often occurs after dogs eat or drink very rapidly or after a very large meal is eaten.

In a gastric dilatation (also called bloat), the stomach dilates with gas.  Many times the condition does not progress further.  However, if the huge gas-filled stomach twists upon itself so that the entrance and exit to the stomach are pinched off, this is known as gastric dilatation and volvulus.  This is a life-threatening emergency and requires surgery to correct.

The American College of Veterinary surgeons reports that GDV in dogs can become quickly life-threatening as it progresses because the condition causes the blood flow back to the heart to be impaired.

Interestingly, the clinical signs of this illness can initially be very subtle, but it is important for pet owners to know what behaviors may indicate this serious medical issue. If any signs are noticed, it is crucial that the canine is taken to a veterinary hospital as soon as possible.  Dogs who are suffering from GD or GDV often experience restlessness, agitation or anxiety after eating or drinking, excessive drooling, attempts to wretch or vomit, and often a progressively distended or swollen abdomen.

Treating GDV is rarely as simple as giving a dog shots and sending it home. In many cases, surgery may be necessary.  Tips to help recognize and help prevent GDV in dogs.