Prophylactic Gastropexy

Large and giant breed dogs with deep chests, such as Great Danes, Weimerieners and Irish Wolfhounds are predisposed to developing gastric dilation and "torsion" (GDV) or “bloat”. GDV is a life threatening condition that requires emergency surgery, and even with surgery, can result in death. Prophylactic gastropexy is a surgery aimed at preventing GDV from occurring by tacking the stomach to the body wall. This surgery is typically accomplished at the same time as a pet's spay or neuter. We recommend this procedure for any large or giant breed dog that may be at risk, particularly those dogs that have a history of “food bloating” and/or have a relative that has had GDV.

How Does a Gastropexy Prevent GDV?

During a gastropexy, your veterinarian will surgically 'tack' the stomach to the right side of the body wall. This will hold the stomach into place, preventing it from making the twist that results in GDV. There are a variety of surgical techniques that can be used to perform the procedure, however, the most common technique involves creating an incision through the outer layer of the stomach and a corresponding incision on the inside of the body wall, where the stomach is to be located. These incisions expose underlying bleeding tissue. Your veterinarian will suture the stomach to the body wall using two lines of suture, allowing the exposed/bleeding tissue of the stomach and body wall to contact each other. As these incisions heal, they will heal together, creating a connection of scar tissue that will hold the stomach in a fixed location.

What Post-Operative Care is Required After a Gastropexy?

With a prophylactic gastropexy, there is no specific post-operative care beyond that required for a routine spay or neuter. Patients should be kept calm for about 7-10 days post-operatively to allow healing. Running and jumping should be prevented during this time and pets should avoid swimming or bathing so that the incision can be kept clean and dry. Your dog will likely be sent home with pain medication and it is important to use these medications as directed.

A gastropexy performed on an emergency basis, when a dog has developed GDV, often requires more involved post-operative care, depending on the severity of stomach damage noted during surgery. Most dogs will remain hospitalized for several days post-operatively before being sent home for the remainder of their recovery period. In addition to the activity restriction required with a prophylactic gastropexy, your dog may require a prescription diet and/or medication to protect the gastrointestinal tract.

Emergency Bloat?

If you are concerned your pet is experiencing bloat, please call an emergency clinic ASAP (see 'Emergency tab)! Passion Fur Paws does not operate to fix GDVs, as we do not have the hospitalization availability or staff to safely & consistently monitor your pet.

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