This is ‘Sam’, a 10 year old Shar Pei who came to us as a true emergency on the 24th of May. Sam’s owners knew he wasn’t well and brought him straight to County Vets when he started trying to be sick and his abdomen began to swell. Sam was suffering from a dreaded ‘GDV’ (Gastric Dilation Volvulus aka bloat) which basically means his stomach had twisted around on itself and cut off the blood supply. This causes pain and severe shock which can lead to irreversible changes and death rapidly if not managed correctly. The x-ray below shows the huge amount of gas that had built up in Sam’s stomach (the darker circular area).
Sam was put straight onto high levels of intravenous fluids and was given a sedative and pain relief. We then tried to pass a stomach tube in an attempt to deflate the stomach but unfortunately the stomach had twisted a full 360 degrees preventing the tube entering the stomach. Sam was put under general anaesthesia for the surgery to begin. The surgery involved deflating the stomach through a needle then untwisting the stomach and replacing it in its normal position. The stomach was then stitched to the body wall to try and prevent this happening again in the future.
Sam had to be monitored closely for the next 48 hours to ensure there were no post-operative complications. He was given pain relief regularly and started on antibiotics. Luckily over the next few days Sam gradually improved and started to take an interest in food. There was no vomiting and Sam seemed quite comfortable. Sam’s owners have been monitoring him closely and making sure he gets plenty of TLC while he recovers.
Luckily GDVs are fairly rare. Some breeds with deep chests are predisposed such as Great Danes, Dobermans and Weimaraners but any breed can be affected. There are many factors which can contribute to a GDV such as exercise after feeding, stress, large meals at once etc. If you notice any signs of bloat or unproductive vomiting contact the vets straight away!