What is “Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus” or Bloat in Dogs?

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (also called bloat in dogs) is a  potentially life threatening  condition. It is also referred to as Gastric Torsion or Twisted Stomach.

  • Gastric Dilatation – is when the stomach swells with gas.
  • Gastric Volvulus (or Torsion) – is when the stomach twists upon itself, which may happen before or after the stomach swells.
It’s possible for the stomach to swell with gas, but not twist (or bloat).

If twisting does occur, it pinches off both the entrance and exit to the stomach, preventing the dog from relieving the air pressure either through belching and vomiting or by passing gas.

The twisting also cuts off the blood supply to the organs and other tissues, which can result in cellular damage and organ death.

Is my Standard Poodle at Risk of Getting Bloat?

According to the Poodle Health Registry, Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus or bloat in dogs is the second most common cause of death for large and giant breed dogs.

Deep narrow-chested dogs are at greatest risk for this disease.

 Standard Poodles are among the Top 12 at-risk breeds: 

  • Great Danes
  • Saint Bernards
  • Weimaraners
  • Irish Setters
  • Gordon Setters
  • Standard Poodles
  • Basset Hounds
  • Dobermanns
  • Old English Sheepdogs
  • German Shorthaired Pointers
  • Newfoundlands
  • German Shepperds
  • What Causes Bloat in Dogs?

    The exact cause of bloat in dogs is not fully understood, but the following things could contribute to GDV –

    • Dogs “wolfing down” their food causing them to swallow an excessive amount of air
    • Dogs eating one large meal rather than smaller meals throughout the day
    • Feeding kibble high in grain content could cause fermenting in the stomach
    • Vigorously exercising a dog immediately after eating
    • Drinking large volumes of water directly after eating

    Symptoms of bloat in dogs include (but are not limited to) –

    • Abdominal pain and bloating
    • Non-productive dry heaving
    • Excessive drooling
    • Extreme restlessness or discomfort
    • Shallow, rapid breathing
    • Rapid heartrate
    • Panting
    • Pale gums
    • Shock

    If you suspect your Standard Poodle may have bloat, you should seek medical attention immediately.

    Treatment for Gastric Dilatation Volvulus in Dogs

    Treatment requires hospitalization.  This is a medical emergency.  An x-ray is necessary to determine if Gastric Torsion has occurred. Your dog will immediately be put on an IV, probably followed by surgery to return his stomach to the correct position.

    The surgery may include a procedure called “Gastropexy”. In this procedure, the stomach is attached to a rib or the body wall to prevent twisting again. Without this, the likelihood of a recurrence is very high.

    In fact, according to Don R-Waldron DVM, DACVS, in his article Video: Incisional gastropexy, the risk of recurrence for dogs who have had GDV is as high as 80 / 90%.

    Watch as Dr. Karen Becker explains the causes, symptoms, and treatment for this frightening and potentially fatal illness.

    Other Poodle Health Risks Dental Health

    Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, filling an emptiness we don’t even know we have. Thom Jones