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Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) or Bloat Syndrome
occurs in large and giant breeds of dogs and is characterised by a rapid concentration of gas and fluids in the stomach, a twisting of the stomach around its longitudinal axis, an increase in endogastric pressure and in many cases cardiogenic shock. The mortality rate for the syndrome, despite the provision of urgent conservative or surgical treatment, ranges from 15% to 25%.
The precise aetiology of this syndrome remains unknown, although certain predispositional factors have been found that are connected with the breed, age, character and feeding habits of dogs and the type of food consumed. More specifically, old dogs, large and giant breeds of dog, dogs with deep narrow chests and thoroughbreds display a greater predisposition to the appearance of GDV syndrome. Of the large breeds, the German shepherd dog, the Weimeraner, English and Irish setters and thestandard poodle display a greater risk of presenting GDV syndrome, while of the giant breeds theGreat Dane, the St. Bernard and the Irish wolfhound are particularly susceptible. 
Animals with first-degree relatives that have manifested GDV at least once before in their lives present an increased risk of manifesting this syndrome themselves. Nervous animals, hyperactive animals and those that have experienced the stress of anaesthesia, surgical intervention or hospitalisation also display a greater predisposition. The feeding habits and types of food consumed by animals have also been found to have an effect on the appearance of GDV. More specifically, feeding once a day, taking food from a raised feeding bowl, consumption of large amounts of food and rapid eating are connected with a greater possibility of the syndrome appearing. Feeding dogs with dry foods that have been dehydrated shortly before they are consumed increases the risk of the syndrome appearing in large-breed dogs, though not in giant breeds. Finally, the large size of dry foods or chunks of food is associated with a reduced risk of GDV appearing in Great Danes. Diagnosis of GDV is based on the case history and clinical picture of the dog concerned, and is confirmed by radiographic examination of the stomach, which should only be carried out once the animal has been stabilised. Anxiety, salivation and non-productive retching are some of the symptoms from the dog’s case-history that may be mentioned by the owner. These symptoms are followed by a moderate to large-scale distension of the stomach, due to becoming inflated with gas. The dog should be brought to the veterinary surgeon immediately and without delay. Dogs that are brought to the veterinary surgeon in a state of shock or coma have a higher mortality rate than animals that are still alert on arrival. 
Treatment of the syndrome includes measures to revive the dog, such as decompression of the stomach and the administration of fluids and electrolytes to restore hemodynamic balance. 1-2 hours after the dog has revived, surgical treatment should follow with the aim of returning the stomach to its normal position, examining the state of the stomach wall, dealing with necroses in the stomach wall and preventing a recurrence of GDV through the application of gastropexy. Non-application of gastropexy has been found to lead to an 80% probability of the syndrome recurring. Timely diagnosis and immediate treatment increase the chances of survival to 80-90%. The application of a gastrectomy or splenectomy or the appearance of arrythmias increase the probability of death by over 30%. Post-operatively, the animals should be placed under electrocardiographic monitoring for at least 24 hours and be treated with intravenous fluids until they fully recover.
Recently the introduction (within the last five years from the USA) of prophylactic gastropexy in the cases of dogs with an increased probability of manifesting the syndrome has proved to have a significant effect on reducing the mortality rate. Veterinary surgeons ought to make prophylactic gastropexy available to their clients, and the procedure should be carried out at the same time as sterilisation or investigative laparotomy, or in the cases of dogs undergoing splenectomy. Laparoscopic gastropexy is the latest word in surgery since it combines effectiveness with minimal operative trauma.
Laparoscopic gastropexy is the latest word in surgery since it combines effectiveness with minimal operative trauma.
LINKS:  Canine Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat)