Bloat GDV



ARTICLE BY Dr. Matthew Brooks



New Perspectives on Bloat

Published September 2015

for the 15-minute drive to the veterinarian.

The race against the clock to save the life of the beloved giant dog ended futilely.
All too quickly, the bloated stomach had twisted, cutting off blood and oxygen to vital organs such as the heart, spleen and liver. The dog had gone into shock and could not be saved. One and a half hours earlier, Longo had left the Dane at home while she ran an errand only to return to find the dog standing in a pool of white foam and his loin swollen hard like a barrel. The look of pain and fear in his eyes was unforgettable.

Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), more commonly known as bloat, is a disorder that affects large- and giant-sized, deep-chested dogs. Gastric dilatation is when the stomach fills like a balloon with gas, and gastric dilatation with volvulus is when the gas-filled stomach twists 180 degrees on its axis. Among the high-risk breeds, Great Danes are believed to have a 25 percent risk of developing GDV in their lifetime. Sadly, one in four dogs does not survive bloat.

Years after the first incident, Longo, of Concord, Ohio, went through bloat with a 2 ½-year-old female Great Dane. “I had just put her out at 5:10 p.m., and when I brought her in the house at 5:20, she was bloated,” she says. “I called the veterinarian to let him know we were coming. We battled rush hour, virtually driving up on sidewalks to get around stalled cars. Fortunately, we made it before the stomach twisted. They were ready and waiting for us. Emergency surgery saved her life.”

Owners like Longo vividly recall the details of an episode of GDV, showing how horrific the experience can be. Their inability to stop an episode despite doing all they can to get a dog to an emergency facility is heartbreaking, especially when a dog dies.

These days, Longo, the 2013 AKC Working Group Breeder of the Year and the breeder of the top-winning Great Dane in breed history (Multi-BIS/ Multi-BISS GCH Longo Miller N Lore’s Diamond Lil), takes preventive measures into her own hands. “Bloat can happen so fast,” she says. “As soon as our dogs finish their championship around 1 year of age, we have a gastropexy performed. I encourage all my pet owners to do the same.”

Gastropexy is a surgery in which a dog’s stomach is tacked to the right side of the abdominal wall to prevent it from shifting or twisting. The cost for a gastropexy is around $1,000, depending on the clinic and its geographical location, compared
to $6,000 to $8,000 for emergency GDV surgery. Dogs receiving emergency surgery have a gastro­pexy performed at the same time to prevent
a recurrence.

GDV has been recognized in dogs for more than 100 years. Other than a dog’s conformation — large and giant breeds with deep chests — there are more mysteries about what causes the disorder than facts. Does the stomach bloat or twist first? Are there ways to determine if a dog is likely to survive? Is GDV due to genetics, environmental factors or both?

To learn more about GDV, the AKC Canine Health Foundation announced the bloat initiative in 2013 and provided funding of more than $500,000 for research to study the causes of bloat. At Michigan State University, researchers hypothesize that gastric dysrhythmia may predispose at-risk breeds to gastrointestinal motility problems that lead to GDV. At Tufts University where a biobank of DNA samples from GDV-affected dogs worldwide has been started, investigators are evaluating the bacterial microbiome of gastric and fecal content to see if altered flora triggers bloat.

Lead investigators of these studies presented their work at the 2015 AKC Canine Health Foundation National Parent Club Canine Health Conference in August in St. Louis. They were among 21 speakers at the two-day program who provided the latest findings about canine diseases. Purina has sponsored the biennial conference since it began in 1995. Here are insights about GDV presented by Laura Nelson, DVM, MS, DACVS-SA, associate professor-health sciences at Michigan State University, and Elizabeth Rozanski, DVM, DACVECC, DACVIM, associate professor of clinical sciences at Tufts University.

Understanding Gastric Motility
Emergency veterinarians act fast when a dog arrives with GDV. “It is definitely an all hands on deck situation,” says Dr. Rozanski, director of Tufts University’s critical care program, which sees about 60 cases of GDV a year. “The first thing we usually do is treat a dog for shock by giving fluids, and then we try to get the dog into surgery as quickly as possible. These dogs go into shock due to the twisting of the stomach.”

A complex process, gastric motility is controlled by hormones, the central nervous system, an enteric nervous system, the automatic nervous system, and cells within the GI tract, factors that determine the strength, speed and pattern of GI contractions.

Dr. Nelson explains, “To make things even more complicated, the fat-to-protein level and carbohydrates in a dog food, as well as the calories a dog consumes and whether the food is solid or fluid, and the kinds of bacteria and other microorganisms in the gut also play a role in GI motility.”

Insights about how gastric motility may cause bloat are being shaped by a capsule-sized wireless motility device called a SmartPill™ first used to diagnose gastrointestinal motility disorders in humans. In the study underway at Michigan State University, about 80 dogs have swallowed the $600 SmartPill that measures gastric motility, relaying information to a SmartPill recorder worn in a harness or vest. The technological device picks up on changes in pressure, temperature and acidity as the pill passes through the gut and can record episodes of bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, vomiting, and nausea.

Importantly, the SmartPill tells how long it takes for solids to pass through the gastrointestinal tract. “The pill may stay in the stomach of one dog for 21 hours and another one for only 10 minutes before reaching the small intestine,” says Dr. Nelson. “Prolonged transit of material through the stomach may stretch gastric ligaments to allow the stomach to twist. In addition, we know that the gas in the stomachs of dogs with GDV is a product of bacterial fermentation similar to what happens in cattle that bloat. With the SmartPill, we seek to learn if GDV risk and gastrointestinal motility are linked.”

Researchers at Michigan State also are evaluating the relationship between levels of two hormones, motilin (MLN) and ghrelin (GHRL), and GDV risk. Previous studies have shown that the phase III motility of dogs with GDV is weaker than in unaffected dogs. During phase III, contractions should be strongest to push nondigestble solids out of the stomach into the small intestine. The Michigan State team also is conducting a genetic analysis to evaluate the genes that encode MLN and GHRL in affected and low-risk dogs to determine if a mutation in one of the genes is more common in dogs that have bloated.

“As motilin is what seems to trigger phase III contractions in a dog’s stomach and ghrelin seems to end these contractions, potentially one or both of these hormones could cause the problem,” Dr. Nelson says.

The ability to predict which dogs are likely to respond well to surgery could be as simple as determining the amount of lactate in a dog’s blood, a measure of how effectively oxygen reaches body tissues. “When lactate goes up, it is a sign that tissues in the body have had to make energy without oxygen,” says Dr. Nelson. “The killer in GDV is more commonly related to shock, or the inability of the body to get oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, and thus not necessarily related to the stomach. Lactate indicates the severity of shock in a particular dog, but high lactate does not necessarily indicate a dog will survive or die.”

Dr. Rozanski agrees. “Preoperatively, increased lactate is associated with gastric necrosis, or tissue death, and ectopy, or abnormal heart beats. We have found that a long duration of GDV may be associated with a worse prognosis. Different organs such as the heart, brain and lungs start to fail — a condition termed multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) — which complicates recovery.”

In a Tufts study of 26 dogs of various breeds with bloat, Dr. Rozanski reports that those with cardiac dysfunction largely had a poor outcome. “We are looking to see how to better characterize myocardial disease in dogs with GDV,” she says. ‘We have found that the biomarkers of echocardiography and electro­cardiogram testing parallel the severity of disease.”

The biobank of hundreds of DNA samples of GDV-affected dogs being collected at Tufts is ongoing. The microbiome research, which includes the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, aims to determine if there is a difference in the bacterial flora of dogs with GDV compared to other dogs.

Given that bloat is a complex age-old disease, it is not surprising that answers don’t come quickly. Meanwhile, “early detection and planning ahead are key,” says Dr. Rozanski. “We can do more to help dogs with earlier detection, a more aggressive surgical approach and improved supportive care postoperatively. We want to learn how to prevent organ failure and infection in dogs with bloat.”

“The question for us is what causes bloat,” Dr. Nelson summarizes. “We need to clarify causative factors to guide preventive measures, improve medical treatment and implement selective breeding. The exciting thing about this devastating and significant problem is there are some new perspectives on this old disease.”



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Name: Dr. Sue Wheeler
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New Dog Parks, Manners, & Rules

Are your dogs staring at you.  They are trying to tell you it is a beautiful day to go outside and play.

Henderson has two new Dog Parks.

Hidden Falls Park – 281 W. Horizon Way Henderson, NV 89002 – Opening Today

Reunion Trails Park – 44 Chapata Drive Henderson, NV 89012 – Already Opened

We have all the Las Vegas, Henderson, & Boulder City Dog Parks listed on including directions to get you there.


Dog Park Manners and Rules
Those of you headed to dog parks may find these tips helpful:
An expert says at a minimum dog park users should pick up dog waste, “have a reasonable recall on [their] dog, and be respectful of people’s feelings.”
If your dog tends to display dog-dog aggression or plays more roughly than other owners like, closely monitor your dog and keep him under control.

“Additional dog-park etiquette rules include:

• “Unleash your dog. A leashed dog may feel threatened by others moving freely.
• “Keep moving. If you stand in one place, your dog may be more apt to become territorial.
• “Never leave your dog unattended, and don’t use a dog park as a drop-off daycare…
• “Make sure your dog has updated vaccinations.
• “Leave your puppies at home until they’re fully vaccinated and physically up to the sometimes rough-and-tumble play. Initial socialization for puppies is often better coming from a puppy training class.
• “Wait until your female dog is out of season…
• “Use caution with toys. Some dogs can be very possessive of their toys; others will want to steal everyone else’s toys… it’s usually a good idea to leave the toys at home…
• “Be careful with children. Not all dogs do well with children, and many dogs will bowl young kids over. If you take your children with you, supervise them closely.
• “[Do] not take more dogs with you than you can control; which for most people is a maximum of three [if they are] well-trained, responsive dogs.
• “Don’t let your dog dig in the park. It can cause a hazard to other dogs.
• “Leave the wildlife alone… for both the wildlife’s and your dog’s safety.

“Relax. The dogs usually figure things out pretty quickly and have a good time.
Be watchful and considerate, but stay positive —
your tension communicates itself to your dog”


The Churchill Foundation



The Churchill Foundation strives to be, not only an animal rescue, but a community resource that encourages participation and involvement. We hope to create a collaborative coalition of animal enthusiasts that are willing to work together to portray rescue and shelter animals in a positive light. churchhill

The Churchill Foundation was created by caring individuals in Las Vegas that felt that our city needs to change. Too many animals end up in shelters through no fault of their own. From strays, abandoned, even abused and neglected animals are forced into unknown fate daily. This can change, it needs to change. Your generous donation will go toward financing our community programs, help with research for new innovative operation ideas, fund positive ad campaigns, and of course help with the few animals lucky enough to end up under our roof. Every donation contributes to a brighter future for the homeless animals in Las Vegas and NO amount is too small. We happily accept donations of items most often needed by shelter dogs and cats. For a list of items we can use, check our community page. If we ever receive items not currently needed by the dogs and cats at The Churchill Foundation, we deliver the items to shelters and rescues in our area that desperatly need them. Thank you for your help! You can donate via PayPal or by contacting us through the site. You can also sign up for a monthly donation as well.

A Home For Spot

Please welcome A Home For Spot to the Vegas Animal Rescue Coalition



A Home For Spot Shop

About Us

A Home 4 Spot is a  volunteer organization that provides foster care and medicine while seeking permanent homes for abandoned dogs. Founded by a Las Vegas resident, A Home 4 Spot began operations in March 2009. Since that time, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization has saved over 500 local dogs from being euthanized. Since the beginning of 2012, the organization has raised more than $53,000 for the medical treatment of animals that would otherwise be killed. For more information about us, please contact:

Adoption Events:

  • Every Sunday in Henderson at the PetSmart at North Stephanie Street
    Henderson, NV from 11am-2pm.
  • Every Sunday in Summerlin at the PetSmart at
    9775 W. Charleston Blvd. Las Vegas, NV
  • Special adoption events will be posted in advance on our website,, or on Facebook (see address below).

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Adoption event info and other important notices are posted on our Facebook page. Once you like our Main Page, we can invite you to our Private Group Page to obtain additional information. This includes details on fostering assistance, frequently asked questions, contact info and more.

Contact Info:

President & Founder:
Diana England
Cell: 702-239-7986

Foster Application

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Las Vegas Cocker Spaniel Rescue
Pam and Don Linne (Directors) – 702-461-2581
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Michelle Leoni – President
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