(Bloat, Gastric Torsion)
Gastric dilatation/volvulus is a life-threatening disease characterized by a tremendous ballooning (dilatation) of the stomach with gas and frothy material. Dilatation may be followed by twisting of the stomach (volvulus) that closes both the inlet and outlet of the stomach. As swelling continues, shock develops as the swollen stomach blocks return of blood from the abdomen to the heart. Widespread tissue damage and kidney failure occur and death from respiratory and cardiac arrest soon follows.
While most cases occur in large, deep-chested dogs, small dogs are occasionally affected. The disorder appears suddenly in apparently healthy dogs. The cause is unknown, but the condition is complex and multiple causes are suspected.
Important Points in Treatment
1. Prompt treatment is essential to a successful outcome. Irreversible damage can occur in a surprisingly short time. For this reason, many affected dogs die before treatment can be given.
2. Surgery is necessary in all cases of gastric volvulus and must be done very quickly.