What is GVD in Dogs?  

So what is GVD in dogs? Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GVD) is a life-threatening condition that affects dogs. You might have heard it called bloat too. But no matter what you call it, this is a serious condition every dog parent should know about. 

Understanding Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GVD) 

GVD, or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus is a condition that occurs when your pet’s stomach fills up with gas and then twists. Think of it like blowing up a balloon and then twisting it—it’s not supposed to happen, and it’s not good. 

How Dangerous Is It? 

GVD is a life-threatening emergency for dogs. When the stomach twists, it can cut off blood flow, causing damage to the stomach tissue and other organs. This can happen quickly, and if not treated ASAP, it can be fatal.  

Signs and Symptoms 

How do you know if your pup might have GVD? Look out for these signs: 

  • Swollen Belly: If your dog’s tummy looks bigger than usual and feels tight or hard, that’s a red flag. If they experience pain when you touch their abdomen, this is another clue that GVD may be to blame.  
  • Unsuccessful Vomiting: Your dog might try to throw up but can’t. It’s like they’re trying to, but nothing comes out. 
  •  Restlessness or Discomfort: If your furry buddy seems anxious, paces, or generally is just not themselves, something might be wrong. Restlessness can be one of the first symptoms you notice. Go through the list of these symptoms and see if your pet is experiencing any others and if so, or if your gut is telling you something is wrong, go immediately to the vet or emergency hospital. 
  • Excessive Drooling: More drool than usual—a lot more—is a sign too. 
  • Rapid Breathing: Panting excessively or breathing really fast could be a sign of trouble brewing. 
  • Collapse or Inability to Stand: Any time your pet can’t stand properly or collapses, it’s an emergency. Call our offices right away or go to an emergency veterinarian if it’s after hours. 

Preventing GVD 

Now, let’s talk about the good stuff—how to keep your pup safe from GVD: 

Small, Frequent Meals: Instead of one big meal, split their daily food into smaller portions. 

  • Slow Down Eating: If your dog scarfs down food really quickly, consider using slow-feed bowls or puzzle toys to make them take it easy. 
  • Avoid Exercise After Meals: No marathons after eating, okay? Let your dog relax for a bit after meals to prevent their stomach from flipping over. 
  • Limit Water During Meals: It’s best not to let your furry friend gulp down a ton of water right after eating. Give them some time before refilling the bowl. 

What is the Prognosis? 

Without treatment, dogs with GVD will not survive. Time is of the essence with GVD. Dogs who have had symptoms for more than six hours are more likely to have complications. Other factors that increase the likelihood of complications include if a portion of the stomach has to be removed because the blood supply has been cut off. Additionally, if the spleen has to be removed, or if the dog has a history of cardiac arrhythmias complications are more likely to occur. 

Dogs at Risk 

Remember, GVD can happen to any dog, but some breeds are more at risk—big dogs with deep chests like Great Danes, German Shepherds, or Boxers. If you notice any of those signs or suspect something’s off, don’t wait. Get your dog into Cimarron Animal Hospital or another emergency vet right away. 

Take Care of Your Pet 

Being a dog parent means watching out for their well-being. Now that you know what is GVD in dogs, stay aware, take precautions, and give your dog all the love and care they deserve. Contact Cimarron Animal Hospital if you have any questions about your pet’s health or to schedule routine exams. Most importantly, if you notice signs of GVD, contact us right away, or take them to an after-hours emergency veterinarian. 

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