Avoiding Bloat: A Preventative Approach with Gastropexy in Dogs

An unhappy dog


The preventative surgery stopping Bloat in Dogs

As devoted pet parents, we value the happiness and health of our furry companions. The love they bring into our lives is immeasurable and it is our responsibility to help safeguard their health. Doing so, includes preventing problems before they occur.

One critical aspect of responsible pet ownership is understanding and considering a preventative gastropexy surgery to prevent bloat in our dogs. In this blog, we will explore the value of this preventative procedure and how it can safeguard our dogs from a life-threatening condition called Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV), more commonly known as Bloat.

A dog looking uncomfortable

What is Bloat?

Bloat is a term used to describe the sudden accumulation of a large amount of gas and fluid in a dog’s stomach. If not treated very promptly this can lead to the stomach twisting on itself. When this happens the entry and exit to the stomach become blocked and the fluid and gas become trapped with the stomach. This is termed GDV.

This is a life-threatening emergency!

The tissue of the stomach wall can start to die off due to be severely stretched and the enlarged stomach can put pressure on surrounding organs causing organ damage and even death. The chance of death ranges from 10-60% of cases even with prompt veterinary treatment.

Signs that dogs with bloat and GDV may show include repeated attempts to vomit (with nothing produced), an obviously distended abdomen, abnormal breathing, pacing or restlessness and drooling. Veterinary care must be sought immediately!

A happy dog

What are the Risk Factors of GDV?

While any dog can potentially develop bloat and GDV, certain breeds are more susceptible.

Breeds at High Risk of Bloat

Large and deep-chested breeds, such as the:

  • Blood hound
  • Great Dane
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Standard Poodle
  • Greyhound
  • Akita
  • Irish Setter
  • Collie
  • Weimaraner
  • German Shepherd
  • Newfoundland
  • Rottweiler

Other at-risk breeds include the:

  • Afghan Hound
  • Malamute
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Boxer
  • Doberman
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever

However, small, and medium-sized breeds can also be affected. Additionally, age, diet, eating habits, and genetic predisposition can play roles in the development of GDV.

A puppy looking at the camera

What is Prophylactic Gastropexy?

Prophylactic gastropexy is a surgical procedure performed by experienced veterinarians that involves attaching the stomach to the inside of the abdominal wall, preventing it from twisting and reducing the risk of GDV.

It provides lifetime protection against GDV in 95% of cases. The remaining 5% develop only bloat and not twisting of the stomach of which the mortality rate is only 1% (compared to up to 60% if GDV occurs in unprotected dogs!).

A dog with a first aid kit

The Key Benefits of Prophylactic Gastropexies

1: Life-Saving Measure

The primary advantage of prophylactic gastropexies is that it can save your dog’s life by preventing the occurrence of GDV.

2: Peace of Mind

As responsible pet owners, knowing that we have taken proactive steps to protect our beloved pets from a potentially fatal condition can provide immense peace of mind.

3: Avoiding Emergency Situations

GDV can occur suddenly and progress rapidly. By opting for a prophylactic or preventative gastropexy, we can spare our pets the pain and suffering associated with this condition and ourselves the emotional nd financial distress faced during emergency situations with our pets.

4: Improved Recovery

Prophylactic gastropexy can often be performed during routine desexing so it minimizes additional surgery and associated recovery time for your dog.

A pure bred dog that looks alert

When is the best time for my pet to have a Gastropexy Surgery?

We usually recommend it be done between 6-12 months of age as risk of GDV increases beyond 1 year of age. It could also be done during any other surgical procedure done later in life where we must enter your pet’s abdomen. For older at-risk pets, it can be done also as a standalone procedure. Again, the recovery is rapid and comparable to recovery following routine desexing.

A greyhound focused on something in the distance

By understanding the risks associated with GDV and recognizing the benefits of preventative gastropexies, we can make informed decisions to help protect our precious dogs. Consult with your veterinarian to assess your dog’s individual risk factors and determine whether prophylactic gastropexy is their best option. 

Remember, being proactive and taking preventive measures can ensure a longer, healthier, and happier life for our doggy friends.

If you would like to book an appointment with our team to discuss protecting your pet with this procedure, please click on our online booking link or call (03) 8373 0301

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