Meet Brie, our Pismo Beach Vet “Pet of the Week.” Brie is an 11 year old, female, Standard Poodle that belongs to our technician, Julie.
At around midnight on Sunday, she began having sudden vomiting and extreme weakness. She was brought in and diagnosed with gastrointestinal dilatation and volvulus (GDV) – basically bloating and twisting of the stomach. For those of you that have seen “Marley and Me,” you may recognize this condition. GDV is a life threatening emergency that requires immediate surgery (Marley actually may have been saved if they had done surgery on him).
We took Brie to surgery and used suction to remove a tremendous amount of gas and fluid from her stomach. After that, we rotated her stomach back into normal position, then sutured it to the side of her body wall to prevent the twisting from happening again. With some good pain control and fluid therapy, Brie was eating again within 24 hours and went home the next day – she’s doing great! What a trooper!
GDV is a fairly common condition of large and deep chested breeds, especially those over 90 pounds, affecting as many as 20% at some point in their life. Standard Poodles, Great Danes, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Labrador Retrievers are some of the most commonly affected dogs. The good news is that it is possible to prevent GDV from happening with a simple procedure called a gastropexy that is often performed at the time of spay or neuter. This procedure involves suturing the stomach to the side of the body wall to form a permanent adhesion that prevents the stomach from twisting and is something that we recommend to all of our large breed dog owners.
Even if your dog hasn’t had this procedure, the survival rate of those suffering from GDV can be greatly increased by recognizing the warning signs early on and seeing a vet on emergency as soon as possible (do NOT wait until morning to bring your dog in, it will be too late). Signs include sudden onset of abdominal bloating, non-productive vomiting, and weakness, often after a meal and/or exercise.