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Gastric dilatation / torsion

Gastric dilatation / torsion

Stomach dilatation occurs when this organ distends excessively with air, liquid or food. The stomach can remain distended in its normal position or twist around itself.

The exact cause for this condition is unknown. It seems that intense exercise following a meal could precipitate torsion. It has also been suggested that multiple dilatations could lead to torsion. Stress (hospitalization, pension, etc.) could also be a cause.

The problem is mostly encountered among large breed dogs with a deep thorax, but it can also be seen occasionally in small breeds.

This is a medical emergency!

Here are the clinical signs (symptoms) that you may notice:

  • Repeated non-productive vomiting efforts, excessive salivation
  • Abdominal distension, discomfort
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Weakness, depression
  • May even look close to death

If you notice any of these signs, quickly consult your veterinarian!

Following the physical exam, an abdomen X-ray could confirm gastric dilatation/torsion suspicions. Afterwards, it will be necessary to try to decompress the stomach with, for example, the help of the passing of a gastric tube. Analgesics, intravenous solutions, and antibiotics will be started quickly. In the case of torsion, surgery must be done as soon as possible. The stomach will then be repositioned and fixed (gastropexy) to avoid recurrence.

Your pet will remain hospitalized and will be closely monitored during the postoperative period. Then, gradually, it can begin to be fed again with frequent small meals. Ingestion of large amounts of water after a meal and exercise after eating must also be avoided.

If your pet requires specialized surgery that cannot be performed in your hospital, we will transfer its file to one of our specialized surgeons working at the Centre Vétérinaire Rive-Sud, the Centre Vétérinaire Laval or at the Hôpital Vétérinaire Centre-Ville Montréal