Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) ~ Bloat/Twisted Stomach) - Life threatening condition.

Following the very recent and sad loss of Cyrus, one of clubs long term dogs, his owners Alex and Gemma Payne wished to share their devastating experience in the hope to bring awareness to other's and potentially save another family from having to go through this awful time. 

They have very bravely written about the events of Cyrus's final day and provided detailed information of GDV below  (posted 09/06/2022).

Cyrus 18/03/2012 - 04/06/2022. Always in our hearts

written by Alex Payne...

"Friday June 3rd (Jubilee Bank Holiday Weekend).

I was up and out first thing with the dogs. We had a lovely walk on Wildmoor Heath. We walked about 5 miles.

Cyrus really enjoyed the walk. He loved to do different walks, he always got frustrated with regularly doing the same walk!

Coco was sick on the walk. One of the first times I've ever known Coco to be sick.

We got home and they had their breakfast and I wouldn't of said Cyrus ate his breakfast particularly fast that morning.

Late morning, he asked to go in the garden and he had a wee, then lay down looking under the back gate watching the world go by.

All still fairly normal. He then started to wretch, but as Coco was sick earlier, we weren't particularly worried.

After lunch he started to get restless, couldn't get comfortable and started to scratch the carpets and walls.

In hindsight, this should have been the point we took him to hospital.

Later, he sicked up white foam / mucus. This was when we rushed him to Farnham animal hospital.

He was rushed into theatre for an emergency operation (once I had paid a significant sum).

I then went home and waited for news. Later that evening we got a call to say he made it through the operation, the operation went ok and all vital signs were heading in the right direction. The Vet however mentioned that the operation was slowed by presence of small bones in his stomach from his raw meat diet.

The Vet also mentioned that the next 48 hours would be critical.

At 12:15 am my phone rang. I didn't need to answer it to know what the news was."

"We lost our beautiful, loving, young at heart Cyrus far too soon to Gastric Dilatation Volvulus GDV (bloat, twisted stomach).

We knew very little about this fatal condition other than an episode of the Simpsons and also Marley and Me. Neither however communicated the need for speed and an emergency operation if symptoms of GDV are noticed. We really hope this information will prevent others from losing a dog in the sudden and unexpected way we lost Cyrus."

What is GDV?

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, also known as bloat, is a condition that affects many dogs. It often occurs with a build-up of food, fluid, or air in a dog’s digestive tract and an inability to release the gases. Sometimes the stomach can twist, blocking gas from escaping through either the stomach’s opening or exit. GDV can result in the blood supply to the stomach and spleen being blocked, blood loss and septic shock. GDV is very sudden and life-threatening, you must seek medical attention within an hour. As an emergency operation is required. but sadly, due to the seriousness of the condition, even with treatment, some GDVs are still fatal. Cyrus survived the operation but collapsed and died shortly after the operation. The condition is seen more commonly in older large, deep-chested male dogs. First degree relatives of dogs that have had GDV have a greater risk of developing it themselves. GDV can occur in any dog. The condition has been reported to most commonly occur two to three hours after eating a large meal, although GDV can occur at any time.

What are the symptoms of GDV?

  • Restlessness after eating.
  • Inability to sit or lay comfortably.
  • Sudden anxiety or pacing, (Cyrus started digging at the carpet).
  • Attempting to vomit.
  • A painful abnormally bloated stomach that looks or feels solid. Cyrus’ felt more solid than his rib cage.
  • An increased heart rate and laboured breathing.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Pale gums.
  • Collapse.
  • overall look of distress.
  • panting or rapid breathing.
  • Vomiting white foam /mucus - Cyrus had this.

What can you do to prevent the risk of GDV?

  • Walk then feed. Don’t feed then walk.
  • Feed at least twice a day.
  • Do not moisten dry food – this increases risk.
  • Larger kibble size food reduces risk. Don’t feed food meant for small dogs to a large dog.
  • Risk of GDV increases with the speed of eating. Use a bowl designed to slow eating.
  • Foods listing a fat source among the main four ingredients.
  • Don’t feed your dog from elevated food bowls unless necessary for health problems.
  • The vet who operated on Cyrus also mentioned to us that his operation was slowed down by the presence of small bones in his stomach from his raw meat diet.
  • More common in thin / underweight dogs.
  • Adding canned dog food to the diet.
  • Feeding a dry food containing a calcium-rich meal (lamb, fish, chicken listed in the first four ingredients.