Dog bloat or gastric torsion (GDV)

What is Gastric Dilation Torsion (GDV)?

Gastric torsion, or Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) Syndrome, means twisting of the stomach, which usually occurs because the stomach has become filled with gas. It mainly occurs in deep-chested breeds .

What causes gastric torsion?

The cause of the condition is seen as a bit of a mystery. It is thought that if there is enough room in the abdomen for gas-filled organs to move then occasionally they will. This is why the condition is most common in deep chested dogs.  So why do the organs become gas-filled in the first place?

There are two likely triggers.

The first is anxiety. Animals (including humans) usually swallow more air when they are anxious. This is known as aerophagia (literally “eating air”) and it is usually seen in stressed, kennelled dogs. The constant intake of air causes the stomach to balloon in size, which changes the abdomen’s normal organ layout.

The second suspect is diet. If dogs are moved onto very fermentable foodstuffs that produce gas at abnormal rates, the stomach can struggle and not deal with the gas efficiently by burping or passing it into the intestines.

Either way the dog is now bloated, which is an emergency in itself even if not one requiring surgery. If this inflated stomach twists however, the situation rapidly changes from serious to catastrophic.