Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) is also known as “bloat,” “stomach torsion,” or “twisted stomach.”  Bloat is an extremely serious condition, and should be considered a life-threatening emergency when it occurs.  There are not home remedies for bloat, therefore dog owners must contact their veterinarians immediately if they suspect that their dog has bloat.  Dogs can die of bloat within several hours.  Even with treatment, as many as 25-33% of dogs with GDV die.

The gastric dilatation is one part of the condition and the volvulus or torsion is the second part.  In bloat (dilatation), due to a number of different and sometimes unknown reasons, the stomach fills up with air and puts pressure on the other organs and diaphragm.  The pressure on the diaphragm makes it difficult for the dog to breathe.  The air-filled stomach also compresses large veins in the abdomen, thus preventing blood from returning to the heart.  Filled with air, the stomach can easily rotate on itself, thus pinching off its blood supply.  Once this rotation (volvulus) occurs and the blood supply is cut off, the stomach begins to die and the entire blood supply is disrupted and the animal’s condition begins to deteriorate very rapidly.

Not all dogs that have a gas buildup and resultant dilatation develop the more serious and life threatening volvulus.  However, almost all dogs that have a volvulus develop it as a result of a dilatation.

Bloat is a very serious and life threatening condition.  Understanding the signs, prevention, and need for prompt treatment will help reduce the risk of mortality if your dog develops this problem.  For more information and illustrations please visit the below links.

Stomach Torsion (PDF)

Also in the "Health Conditions & Issues" section:


Join our mailing list