Understanding GDV in dogs

Our head vet Alun recently read a newspaper story about Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) in dogs.  As we tend to get a few queries after things have been in the news, we thought a short article that answers all the common questions we are asked, might be useful and interesting for our dog owners. 

Before we get to the information on GDV, if you think your pet is displaying any of the symptoms below you should contact us immediately. 

[Visit our emergency page]


So, what is GDV?

Gastric Dilation Volvulus occurs when the stomach bloats and twists around itself. Once the stomach twists, it quickly starts to fill with gas, and begins to compromise the blood supply to the abdominal area. 

What are the symptoms of GDV?

GDV is a painful, life-threatening condition that requires emergency treatment. Common symptoms include.

  1. Bloating of the stomach, 
  2. Unproductive retching, 
  3. Drooling, 
  4. Changes in breathing rate and 
  5. Collapse. 

If you spot these symptoms in your dog, then please don’t wait to see if things improve. Contact us immediately as faster treatment of GDV means a better chance of survival. 

What causes GDV?

Stress can be a factor as is greater age. The condition is more common in dogs over the age of four. In higher risk animals, once-daily feeding then exercising your dog close to the time of feeding can increase the risk. Raising the food bowl has also been shown to increase the risk of GDV in large, deep-chested dogs.   

Reduce the chances of GDV in older, larger dogs by feeding twice daily from a ‘slow feeder’ bowl placed at a low level and letting the meal settle before vigorous exercise.

What can the Clent Hills Vets' team do for dogs with GDV?

Unfortunately, the only treatment for a dog with GDV is an operation to un-twist their stomach.  However, the condition is so serious that even with early treatment, some instances are still fatal.

As we said above, the best thing you can do is to recognise the symptoms and take early action. So, if you are worried, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01527 889810 24/7.