Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) is a multifactorial issue that can be caused by a combination of genetics, anatomy, and environmental factors. GDV is the twisting of the stomach in a way that cuts off blood supply, trapping gasses and creating a life-threatening circumstance. Typically, larger dog breeds or breeds with narrow, deep chests are at a higher risk for GDV, and that risk increases with age. Cats and small dogs can still develop GDV, though it is very rare.

GDV is a two part process in which the stomach first bloats or dilates, filling with air, then undergoes torsion or volvulus, spinning on its axis. In less severe cases, a pet suffers from bloat (gastric dilatation) alone. The actual twisting of the stomach (volvulus) is a life-threatening situation that can be fatal within a matter of minutes. When a pet suffers GDV it can then cause the following emergencies: 

  • Swollen stomach
  • Pressure on the abdomen
  • Damage to cardiovascular system
  • Decreased blood flow

If your pet can burp or vomit it is probably not experiencing GDV. However, if your pet seems to be in excruciating pain, contact our office immediately and we can initiate tests to check for torsion.

Symptoms that could indicate Gastric Dilatation Volvulus:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiousness
  • Depression
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Hardness developed in the stomach
  • Sudden collapse
  • Unexplainable weakness
  • Vomiting or dry heaving

Treatment options for bloat and Gastric Dilatation Volvulus

Gastric dilatation is considered an emergency situation. Once your pet arrives, we will assess their condition and administer any necessary pain relievers or antibiotics prior to gastric decompression. After relieving the bloat from the stomach, we will perform X-rays to determine if your pet is suffering from dilatation alone or if volvulus has also occurred.

If volvulus is present, surgical options will be discussed. Surgery is necessary to return internal organs to their normal positioning, and permanent gastropexy (surgically securing stomach in upright position) is often recommended. Once a volvulus has occurred, 75 to 80% of dogs develop it again; gastropexy can prevent future reoccurrences of GDV.

If you witness any of these changes in your pet, please contact our office immediately as it could indicate a serious health emergency.


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Just wanted to say I love Dr. Petcu's staff and his compassionate , caring way of taking care of my dogs.The staff is not only friendly and professional ,they know who you are when you arrive ,and they actually love animals. Is the first Animal Hospital that my dogs are at ease and feel comfortable.The place is very clean and the reception area very elegant and inviting. Exquisite services and Dr. Petcu always take his time to explain the disease and options and still finds time to play with my dogs. He's always treated both his animal and human patients with compassion and dignity,and would never recommend procedures unless he truly feels your pet will benefit from it. One of the vets that cares for your pet. The prices are reasonable and the services exceed all expectations. I Highly recommend Dr.Petcu and his hospital.

Reba S

Western Animal Hospital AMAZING! Western Animal Hospital is the best place in the valley .The staff is professional, friendly, caring and accommodating. The hospital is very clean and upscale. The customer service and the provided services are outstanding.Dr. Petcu is one of the most professional veterinarians that i have ever met in my 25 years of pet parenting. I drive across the valley just to see him( i live in Anthem) .He really cares about his animal patients and it shows in every visits . He is very knowledgeable , compassionate, friendly and always takes the time to answer any question i have and explaining in detail any situation we are dealing with. I had my share of visits to many animal hospitals in the valley but none of them had the last technology as Western - digital X-ray ( they send you home with a cd for you x-ray records ) every room has a computer monitor where the x-ray shows and Dr. Petcu can review with me every detail of it. Also they have the laser surgery and digital dental x-ray. Dr. petcu is one of the most
courteous and pleasant Vets I have ever met. The prices are more than reasonable and also they try to accommodate everybody. I cannot recommend them enough. You can rest easy knowing your pets are in their care.I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS HOSPITAL - THEY HAVE A CUSTOMER FOR LIFE IN ME! very good !

Betty K

Western Animal Hospital this doctor is making a lot of sense and will explain everything in details..
prices are great ....

.the best vet I met !! Pam M. 5 Western Animal Hospital - we are bringing our pets to Dr Petcu for 8 years. He was always helpful, many times we did not have the funds to treat our pets but he was fine with us paying when we had the money. He saved our cats in many instances and all I have to say is that I greatly reccomend Western Animal Hospital for any responsable pet owner .

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