Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus or, Simply, Bloat

Gastric Dilatation- Volvulus, otherwise known as bloat, is a serious life threatening condition. GDV develops without warning and can progress quickly, and should always be treated as an emergency.

What is Bloat?

GDV, or bloat, is when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food, and/or fluid and subsequently twists. It is when the stomach twists that this condition can become life threatening. When the stomach becomes severely distended with gas, fluid, or food, it puts pressure on the organs and decreases blood flow to and from these organs. A twisted stomach is more severe than the initial bloat itself. Sometimes, bloat can resolve on its own, but when it does not it can result in a twisted stomach.

Causes of GDV

GDV can happen at any age to any breed however, it is more common in large breed dogs with deeper chest cavities and middle aged dogs. Some of the main causes of bloat are:

  • eating very quickly
  • overeating
  • drinking a large quantity of water in a short period of time
  • raised food bowls
  • stress (being left in a kennel for too long for example)
  • exercising after eating
  • genetic factors
  • increased age

Signs of GDV

GDV develops very, very rapidly and often without warning. It is very important to recognize the early signs of bloat can be crucial to ensure your dogs health. Early signs are:

  • Restlessness
  • Pacing
  • Very Swollen or Distended Abdomen
  • Painful to the touch abdomen
  • Overall look of Discomfort or Distress
  • Vomiting or dry heaving, retching
  • Excessive drooling
  • Panting or very rapid breathing
  • Collapse or inability to stand


As stated before, GDV can happen out of nowhere and progress rather quickly. Treatment should be sought out immediately to increase survival. A Vet will asses whether your dogs stomach has in fact twisted and will need surgery. If not, they can prescribe medicine to help with the bloat so the stomach will not twist. If you suspect your dog has GDV it is imperative that you get them to a vet as soon as possible!

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