Preventing GDV Gastric Dilation and Volvulus

Dog Food Advisor Forums Editors Choice Forum Preventing GDV Gastric Dilation and Volvulus

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  • #95666 Report Abuse
    Judith L

    Onn February 9 my 12 year old Basset cross “Poldy” died of GDV. He was not fat, not stressed, and always got good care and exercise. At 5PM he went for his regular half mile walk with my husband and other dogs. At 5:30, he did not return with the pack, so my husband went to look for him and found him standing immobile in the meadow. He came back to the house very slowly, but would not lie down, drink, or eat. By 6PM we knew he was sick but there were no obvious signs except that he was like a statue. No fever. No salivating. By 7PM we were at Emergency Services, and his belly was obviously distended. He died by 9PM. Fortunately, IV pain meds made his last hour tolerable. Surgery to try to save him would have cost $12,000, and we would have needed to pay in advance.
    Several important points:
    1. GDV (bloat) means that the dog’s stomach has twisted and cannot empty. As it fills with gas, it presses on the major blood vessels, and causes reduced blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmias. The stomach can start to die – literally – necrosis. GDV can happen to any dog, at any time, and it is a catastrophic emergency. My daughter, a vet, has treated Corgis and Yorkshire Terriers with GDV. She has treated puppies as well as older dogs, so don’t relax just because you have a small dog or a young dog. Watch out for it!
    2. This is a good argument for health insurance. We didn’t have it in February. Now we do.
    3. I have searched high and low for information about prevention. The only reliable info seems to be: don’t exercise for 2-3 hours after eating; feed multiple times a day; don’t elevate dog dishes. Small kibble seems to be more risky than large. The data on raw vs canned vs kibble are unimpressive.
    PLEASE: if you have really good information to share with me and the group, please tell us! Editor, you started this forum. What do you know about preventing bloat?
    I am so sad and a bit traumatized. Reliable information would be very helpful, thanks.

    #95751 Report Abuse

    Hi Judith-
    I am so very sorry for your loss. How unbelievably tragic. I have two large lab mix dogs and worry about bloat daily. One of them is more narrow and deep chested than the other. This is the classic build that I hear are quite vulnerable. But, wow, a basset mix doesn’t fit the mold at all. Poor baby. I’m glad you were able to at least make him somewhat comfortable.

    I read conflicting info on this subject also. I’ve read you should elevate the bowls, then you read you should absolutely NOT elevate them. I am careful not to exercise them for at least an hour after they eat and try not to let them drink much after exercise either. I’ve read that adding canned to their kibble meal does help prevent bloat. And recently, I also read that larger kibble is better too. Which is differnet than what I’ve read before. And, like you mentioned, feeding at least twice per day seems to be important. I, too, wish there were more definitive preventive measures.

    I hope your heart can heal. It’s so hard to not beat ourselves up when these things happen. RIP Poldy :'(

    #95890 Report Abuse
    Judith L

    Thank you, Crazy4cats. I am heartsore, for certain. And since I have 4 other dogs, the fear of GDV is now embedded. I have a Boxer, age 10, about 70 pounds, hearty rapid eater; a 140#Anatolian shepherd, age 9. A Dutch Shepherd female, age 7. And a Dutch Shepherd puppy now 6 months old. The big guy, Kandor, is clearly at risk, the prototype of a deep chested dog. The Boxer is also deep chested, and eats rapidly, anything and everything. The 2 Duchies are more fit and active, the pup has occasional manic episodes! There is no way to stop them from moving around, including upside down.
    I scanned the scientific literature using and found general agreement that raised food stations are a bad idea. Feeding once a day is a bad idea. Larger kibble and nap time after eating = good idea, generally. But Poldy was 12, not hyperactive. He had been fed in the morning, 8 hours before he showed signs of being ill, and he was not running around like a madman. He was a dog of leisure, a gentleman and a scholar, not given to childish frolics. So I don’t know what to do except hope for the best, and pay for good insurance in case something horrible happens again.
    Yes, RIP, Poldy. You are sorely missed.

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