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Bloat, GDV and Gastropexy surgery at Clinton Veterinary Hospital

Bloat, GDV and gastropexy surgery in dogs at Clinton Veterinary Hospital, Clinton, CT

What is Bloat?

Bloat, also referred to, as GDV is a problem seen most commonly in large, deep chested dogs. Bloat occurs when the stomach fills with air and sometimes twists on itself. Bloat is life threatening and if symptoms are not recognized very quickly the condition can be fatal.

What are the symptoms?

  • Retching or non-productive vomiting
  • Distension of the abdomen (very enlarged or full looking belly)
  • Stretching or restlessness due to discomfort or pain
  • Drooling or panting
  • Pale gums

What are the risk factors for bloat?

  • Any breed has the potential to bloat but the breeds with the highest risk are- Great Danes, Weimaraners, St. Bernards, Irish setters, Gordon setters, Doberman Pinschers, Standard Poodles and German Shepherds. Dogs with a deep chest have the highest risk of bloat or GDV.
  • Meal frequency is also a risk factor. Dogs who eat only one meal a day are at increased risk of bloating
  • Speed of eating. Dogs who eat very quickly are at increased risk of bloat. The same goes for water consumption. Drinking too much too quickly increases the risk of bloat.
  • Genetics are also a factor. Dogs who are related to a dog who has previously had bloat are at increased risk of developing the condition.
  • Risk of bloat increases with age. Older dogs are at a higher risk.

How is it diagnosed?

Figure 1 GDV radiograph

Bloat is most commonly diagnosed by taking an x-ray of the abdomen. Bloat has a common appearance on x-ray. A physical exam of a dog that is bloated can also reveal a very tense and enlarged abdomen, an increased heart rate, poor pulses and pale gums.

How is it treated?

Bloat requires emergency surgery to correct. Generally patients who are suffering from bloat must be stabilized before going to surgery. Stabilization involves IV fluid therapy and decompression of the stomach. To decompress the stomach a tube is often passed to relieve some of the gas that causing the stomach to enlarge. Once in surgery the stomach is untwisted and a gastropexy is performed to prevent the stomach from rotating or twisting. The gastropexy involves tacking or suturing the stomach to the body wall to prevent it from twisting.

Can it be prevented?


  • For the breeds at highest risk we recommend a gastropexy at the time of spay or neuter. Gastropexy surgery involves tacking the stomach wall to the abdominal wall so that the stomach cannot twist. This surgery is the best way to prevent bloat, particularly for those breeds at high risk.
  • Feeding multiple meals a day rather than one large meal will decrease the risk of bloat.
  • Using a slow feeder, or a bowl with rocks or balls in it to slow your dog down while eating will also help prevent this condition.
  • Limiting vigorous exercise after a meal will also help decrease the risk of bloat.


Do you have a large breed dog? Are you concerned about GDV or bloat? Call us today to inquire about gastropexy surgery. 860-669-5721