WestVet Boise Emergency: 208.375.1600 | WestVet Idaho Falls Emergency: 208.552.0662


Animals suffering from GDV, commonly referred to as "bloat," need aggressive treatment for shock (IV fluids, stomach decompression, etc.) and surgery as soon as possible.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV), referred to as “bloat,” primarily occurs in large, deep-chested dogs, but has been reported in cats and small breed dogs. While exact cause remains unknown, it is thought to be related to a buildup of fluid and gas that allows the stomach to dilate and twist.

Predisposing risk factors:

  • older dogs
  • eating one meal per day
  • underweight dogs
  • a deep and narrow chest anatomy

Signs include:

  • distension of the abdomen
  • nonproductive retching
  • acting painful
  • arching of the back
  • hypersalivation
  • restlessness.

Compression of major blood vessels by the distended stomach results in reduced blood return to the heart, resulting in shock and sometimes heart arrhythmias. X-rays can confirm the diagnosis.


Your dog’s GDV or “Bloat” Surgery Treatment

During surgery, the stomach is repositioned to its normal location then examined for necrosis (loss of blood supply and death of the tissue).

If a large amount of necrosis is present prognosis can be poor. Otherwise, the affected portion can be removed. Sometimes the spleen also requires removal.

A gastropexy, permanent attachment of the stomach to the right abdominal wall, is performed prior to closure to help prevent future recurrence.

Your dog’s recovery from GDV or “bloat” Surgery

Following surgery, dogs require careful monitoring and remain on IV fluids, pain medications, stomach protectants, and antibiotics.

Heart arrhythmias are common and may occur 12 to 36 hours after surgery and requiring treatment if severe. Life-threatening heart arrhythmias are often addressed with medication. In addition, leakage from a stomach removal site into the abdominal cavity, failure to remove all necrotic areas, and entry of bacteria from compromised areas of the stomach into the bloodstream can be causes of sepsis and possible death.

Prognosis for patients with GDV without gastric necrosis is good (85% survive). Patients with gastric necrosis have a more guarded prognosis (60-70% survival). Recurrence of GDV is unlikely when a gastropexy is performed.

The board certified surgeons at WestVet have extensive training and experience in GDV surgery.

Our local canine officers have all undergone a gastropexy by Dr. John Chandler. This procedure helps prevent GDV. You may read about this procedure and our community partnership HERE.


Please see your family veterinarian for a referral for a consultation with a WestVet surgeon. Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding your dog’s treatment for bloat at 208.375.1600.

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