Traveling Dog Lady: A to Z Challenge: V is for Volvulus #atozchallenge

Friday, April 25, 2014

A to Z Challenge: V is for Volvulus #atozchallenge

If you read the book (or saw the movie -- groan) "Marley & Me", then you may know what volvulus is.  Also known as "bloat" or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) in dogs, volvulus occurs mainly in large or giant breed, narrow-deep-chested canines.  It means that a portion of the gastrointestinal tract in the animal has twisted, flipped, or rotated -- also known as gastric torsion.  As a result, the contents of the stomach also rotate.  This not only is uncomfortable and painful for the pup, but can be fatal.  It causes retching, usually without vomiting, a hunched-over stance and very anxious behavior, before leading to possible shock and collapse.

The causes of GDV are not fully understood.  Some experts maintain that a larger dog eating too fast, drinking a lot of water after eating and/or exercising hard after eating can cause bloat.  Other experts say there is no evidence that any of these things produce bloat!  Still others believe certain kinds of food will cause GDV in dogs.

Whatever the cause, this is thankfully something I've never head to deal with, with any of my hounds.  GDV is usually chronic, as was the case with poor Marley who developed the condition a couple of times in his lifetime.

So, without knowing the exact cause, should you be worried about bloat, and if so what can you do to prevent the affliction?


Infographic courtesy of vetdepot.com


My friends over at Great Dane Rescue of New England, where I used to volunteer, know all too well that Danes are somewhat susceptible to GDV.  (Good heavens, you could almost call it Great Dane Volvulus!).  Some giant breeds, such as Danes, are given gastropexy surgery as puppies to actually prevent bloat -- it is that common in those breeds.  Other Dane breeders and owners don't pursue that option.  It really is totally up to the dog owner to do their own research and decide for themselves.

Either way, if your dog ever develops volvulus get him or her to a vet immediately.  A lifesaving procedure can be done to reverse the torsion, as was done with the famous Marley.

For more information on volvulus, bloat and GDV, here are some links:

http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_dg_gastric_dilation_volvulus_syndrome

http://www.2ndchance.info/bloat.htm