We have 2 dogs and have heard the term gastric torsion over and over again. Fortunately, we have not had any experience with it so far, but I wanted to know what exactly it is, how to prevent gastric torsion in dogs and what to do in an emergency.
In the case of gastric torsion, the dog’s stomach rotates around its own axis and thus closes the stomach outlet as well as the stomach inlet. This can lead to the death of the dog within a few hours. There are several reasons why your dog could get gastric torsion. One point is certainly the wild romp after eating. So make sure your dog doesn’t jump around wildly after eating or you encourage him to go for a jog. Make sure he quiets down and takes a break if you want to prevent gastric distress in your dog.
What is gastric torsion?
Before we deal with the question of how to prevent gastric torsion in dogs, we should first clarify what gastric torsion is.
Your dog’s stomach is not firmly attached to the abdominal cavity, but is held in place by ligaments. Due to this fact, the stomach can rotate around its own axis during gastric torsion.
This then pinches off blood vessels as well as stomach entrance and exit. Digestive gases can thus not escape and the result is that the stomach inflates like a balloon.
Within a very short time this can lead to the death of your dog. Usually, large dogs are more prone to gastric torsion.
How to recognize gastric torsion in a dog
When your dog has gastric torsion, he becomes restless and paces back and forth excitedly. He may also constantly change position between standing and lying down.
He will probably also try to vomit. However, since the stomach entrance is constricted, as mentioned earlier, your dog can only choke out foam.
Also, you will notice that your dog’s stomach is very distended when he has gastric distention.
If you do not go to the vet now, your pet’s general condition will continue to deteriorate. It will become apathetic and weaker.
Apathetic means that your dog will become apathetic and unresponsive to external stimuli.
How does gastric distress occur in a dog?
The reasons, how it can come to a stomach torsion in the dog, are various. Mostly, however, it is an interaction of various factors that can lead to gastric torsion in dogs, which I would like to list below:
- Large dogs are more often affected. Since we have a Broholmer and a Cane Corso, we have consequently looked into the subject a little more closely.
- Hasty gulping can be the reason for gastric torsion
- Wild playing, jumping and running directly after eating can also be a trigger.
- Too big portions! Feeding your dog a large portion only 1x a day can increase the risk of gastric torsion
If the food bowl is placed in an elevated position, this can increase the risk of gastric torsion.
- Some foods swell up a lot in the stomach. Dry foods with a high carbohydrate content increase the risk of gastric torsion
Which dogs are prone to gastric torsion?
It is mostly the medium and large dog breeds that are prone to gastritis. This includes breeds like our Broholmer and Cane Corso.
But also the German Shepherd, the Boxer, the Great Dane or the Saint Bernard are at risk because of their size.
It is often reported that the dogs have eaten and played afterwards.
Preventing gastric torsion in dogs
Honestly, it must be said in advance that it is impossible to exclude gastric torsion. However, you can prevent it as much as possible by following these tips:
- Do not feed your dog with one big portion, but divide the food into 2 portions. If you want, you can also feed 3x a day, morning, noon, evening. The more food your dog has in his stomach, the more it expands. This favors the turning of the stomach.
- Prevent your dog from running wild right after eating. Try to make him calm down
- If your dog is a hasty gobbler, you can use an anti-gulping bowl. These bowls, due to their special internal shape, make your dog eat only small chunks of food more slowly.
- Your dog’s bowl should be placed on the floor, not on a platform or other elevation. If your dog has to bend down to eat, the risk of him swallowing air is reduced.
- Choose dry food that does not swell a lot in the stomach and is low in carbohydrates
- Raw feeding reduces the risk of gastric torsion
What is the cost of gastric torsion surgery?
If you have come into the situation of a gastric torsion with your dog, an operation is inevitable.
So you are on the direct way to your vet, who can help you in case of emergency. Your vet needs to operate immediately. But how much does a gastric torsion surgery at the vet cost anyway?
The costs can quickly amount to 1,000 to 2,000 € in Germany and from 1,500 $ to 7.500 $ in the US.
Important: If your dog has a torsion of the stomach or you suspect that it is a torsion of the stomach, you have to go to the vet IMMEDIATELY.
You absolutely cannot wait. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the night, you have visitors, or if it’s on the weekend.
If you wait, it may be too late and your dog will not survive. You should already check with your next vet visit to see if they can help with a gastric emergency.
Not every vet can treat gastric torsion.
If your veterinarian recommends another colleague in case of emergency, make sure that he is as close as possible and also has emergency service.
Even though you may not like that vet. After all, it’s a matter of life and death and every minute of travel time can be crucial. After all, it’s only for emergencies, which hopefully will never happen.
Conclusion: How do you prevent gastric torsion in dogs?
The most important point is that your dog does not jump around wildly after eating but gets rest. Gastric torsion in dogs often occurs when there is wild running or playing after eating.
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