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  • (02) 8319 5555

Gastric dilation volvulus or ‘GDV’

Gastric dilation volvulus or ‘GDV’ is a life-threatening condition that can occur in dogs. We will discuss below what this condition is, why it happens and what we can do to reduce the risk to our pets.



A GDV describes a situation where the stomach becomes bloated with gas or food and then twists around on itself within the abdomen.  This causes extreme pain and can be fatal within hours due to the impacts of shock and compromise of blood supply to organs within the body.



Most classically affected breeds are large, deep chested dogs (e.g. Great Danes, Setters, Weimaraner, Standard Poodles), but any size and age of dog can be affected.



Signs you may see at home include an obviously distended abdomen, signs of pain or distress, panting and vomiting or retching that is not productive. Xrays are commonly used by veterinarians to help diagnose a GDV.



Treatment includes emergency stabilisation, decompression of the stomach to release gas and or food, followed by emergency surgery to de-rotate the stomach and in some cases remove parts of the spleen or stomach if they have been severely injured.



Some of the risk factors thought to be associated with development of a GDV include breed (as discussed above), eating rapidly, a stressed or anxious temperament, feeding a large volume, single meal per day, exercise shortly after a meal, having a close family history of bloat and eating from an elevated food bowl.



For high-risk breeds, a discussion should be had with your veterinarian regarding ways to reduce risk of bloat and GDV in your dog.


A surgical procedure called a ‘gastropexy’ can be performed for at risk breeds and may be offered at the time of desexing.

In this surgery the stomach is tacked to the body wall, which does not stop bloat but greatly reduces the risk of the stomach rotating and causing a much more serious situation.



Being able to recognise and treat this condition quickly is crucial for a good outcome.


If you have any concerns please contact your local Sydney Animal Hospital;


Newtown (02) 9519 4111
69-73 Erskineville Road Erskineville

Inner West (02) 9516 1466
1A Northumberland Ave Stanmore

Norwest (02) 8883 0411
Unit 8, 1-3 Celebration Dr Bella Vista

Kellyville (02) 8883 0533
106 Windsor Rd Kellyville

Newport (02) 9997 4609
1 Palm Rd Newport

Avalon (02) 9918 0833
710 Barrenjoey Rd Avalon Beach



#GDV #Gastricdilationvolvulus #Gastropexy